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An Act of God ~ Signature Theatre

Jordan Wright
October 16, 2017
Special to The Alexandria Times

Tom Story (God) and Jamie Smithson (Gabriel). Photo by Margot Schulman.

Tom Story (God) and Jamie Smithson (Gabriel). Photo by Margot Schulman.

A gem of a comedy is holding fast at Signature Theatre.  Directed by 13-time Emmy-winning former head writer and Executive Producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, David Javerbaum, this hilarious sendup of God stars Tom Story.  Story, who took on the Herculean 40-role play Fully Committed at MetroStage last December, is a seven-time Helen Hayes Award nominee who proves in this off-the-wall, one-acter that he can take on the biggest role of all.  God.  Director Eleanor Holdrige makes certain nothing is sacred in this stick-in-the-eye comedy – especially not God himself whom Story plays with all the irrepressible wit, snark and snap in his toolbox.

Tom Story (God), Jamie Smithson (Gabriel) and Evan Casey (Michael). Photo by Margot Schulman.

Tom Story (God), Jamie Smithson (Gabriel) and Evan Casey (Michael). Photo by Margot Schulman.

In a Family Feud takeoff God is aided by His naughty archangels (“My wingmen.”) played by Evan Casey as Michael and Jamie Smithson as Gabriel.  Michael and Gabriel are adept at dashing into the audience and attributing to the unsuspecting guests pre-chosen questions that threaten to undermine God’s laws.  Heresy!  Beginning with the Creation of the World God confesses the six-day timeline wasn’t enough, and goes on to lay out a new version of the Ten Commandments, an original explanation of Adam and Eve (“I removed a non-load bearing rib.”) as well as a condemnation of the Ark’s fuzzy math and another pet peeve, the lack of modern science as in the impossibility of Abraham’s 90-year old wife’s miraculous birth of their son.  He is apoplectic at these biblical misinterpretations.   “I have wrath management issues,” He confesses.

In order to set the record straight, He explains his original intent.  In particular His Fourth Commandment, “Thou Shalt Separate Me and State”, in which He reviles those that claim to speak for him.  Oh, so popular these days.  And His Seventh Commandment, “Do Not Tell Me What to Bless”, wherein He blasts those worshippers who ask Him for a slam dunk or touchdown and protection from devils when sneezing.  He knows exactly who He will bless and who He will curse.  “I don’t want you to kill in my name.  I can do that all by myself.”

Evan Casey (Michael), Tom Story (God) and Jamie Smithson (Gabriel). Photo by Margot Schulman.

Evan Casey (Michael), Tom Story (God) and Jamie Smithson (Gabriel). Photo by Margot Schulman.

 

Thanks to Costume Designer Robert Croghan’s pimped-out white suit with Gucci belt mega-church preacher style, God can say with total assurance, “I am a well-established brand.”  The Playbill agrees, crediting him as Playwright.  “God is the original multi-hyphenate and triple threat, an auteur and visionary whose bold creations and intelligent designs have earned Him international recognition since Day One.  He is also a writer whose previous literary efforts, The Old Testament and The New Testament, have collectively sold an impressive 7,000,000,000 copies.”

Credit also to Daniel Conway for his flashy scenic design giving God a suitably deluxe platform on which to pontificate and take selfies with His archangels and Alberto Segarra for lighting God and His pronouncements in all His extraterrestrial glory.

Highly recommended for a healthy dose of irreverence.

Through November 26th at Signature Theatre (Shirlington Village), 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA 22206.  For tickets and information call 703 820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.

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