AN ACT OF GOD, a one act play, by multiple award-winning author David Javerbaum, is definitely an interesting piece of work.
So is GOD, as the play humorously reveals in the form of God speaking directly to the audience while explaining the power, strength and omnipotence she wields.
Yes, I said, “She.”
This incarnation of the play, by Executive Director Christopher Ostrom and Director Daisy Walker, was first produced on Broadway with a traditional “Male” lead. The decision to cast God, as a woman; a Black woman, added, (to this reviewer) even more depth and awareness of the fact that God is still God, independent of any expected shape, form or sex we previously may have perceived. It also opens a door to a lot fun too.
Lynnette Freeman, in the title role, takes us on a bumpy, sometimes serious and oftentimes hilarious trip through what it‘s like “Being” God.
She proclaims that there, “Was no God before me,” in a really sassy way, and we DO believe her Yes we do.
The plot (mostly in the form of a Monologue) explains WHO God really is, what she likes and doesn’t like, where she’s been through-ought eternity, her likes and dislikes and her views on everything from Broadway to the future of the Universe.
She calls on one of her assistants (there are two Ark Angels, Gabriele and Michael, complete with wings) to unveil the NEW Ten Commandments on what appears to be a Game show Tote Board (I was particularly taken by commandments #3 #4 and #6 #8 and the last two). Oh heck, they‘re all good. As the Angels light up each number, the show moves forward as each new commandment is revealed and discussed (Great set design from Ellen Rousseau).
Wearing a sexy, tight white dress (of course) and very high heels (Nice costume design by Jennifer Spagone, who also gives us the wings of the two Ark Angels), Freeman, “Works,” that stage and reaches out to the audience until she has us in the palm of her hand. She and the character become one.
As God she talks about how we perceive her, “In the desert I was just a bush, but I’m a short, Black chick with a big head in Wellfleet.” Speaking of the Bible, God admits to wanting to be a writer and, “I never meant the Bible to be the only thing I ever wrote.”
God has very interesting views on everything from the separation of Church and State, to Evolution and what REALLY happened in the Garden of Eden.
Be prepared however,, there is a DARK side to God.
She remembers a little too fondly some of the ways she’s punished humans , with floods and plagues and even the Potato famine
She seems almost diabolical as she claims “Fear and Panic” are her two favorite things with which to torture humans. She also reminds us that she is watching us while we masturbate.
One running theme of the show I particularly enjoyed was God Questioning herself (I don’t want to give away too much) here, but it works very well.
I also enjoyed knowing God’s favorite Broadway show, learning about Jesus’s childhood, Steve Jobs and what God sees for the future.
A Monologue is not the easiest form of acting. This show does have some elements of a “Stand-Up” routine, but Freeman, who also has a background in storytelling, totally understands the role, the character, the methodology and brings it home!
She does most of the talking (and more) but occasionally is silent as we watch some of the antics of the Angels (Alexandra Lemus as Gabriel and David Meyers as Michael). They wander through the audience asking questions of God and from audience members (ha) and taxing her patience quite often as well.
Written by David Javerbaum, this one act play is a fast paced fun and imaginative fantasy into God’s mind.
Looking at his resume, one can understand how he might be interested in such a play.
Javerbaum is no stranger to comedy. He’s the former Executive Producer of John Stewart’s Daily Show on the Comedy netwwork as well as having been Stewart’s Head Writer for over four years. He has ELEVEN Emmy Awards and two more nominations. Hew’s also been awarded two Peabody Awards, and a Television Critics Award. He was one of the main collaborators of Jon Stewart’s textbook parody, “America (the book),” which spent fifteen weeks at #1 on the NY Times Best Seller List. He also won The James Thurber Award for American Humor (twice). He received a Grammy Award for best Comedy Album.
He wrote for David Letterman and did some writing for the 2006 Academy Awards.
In 2011, his Book, :The Last Testament: A Memoir by God,” was published by Simon and Schuster.
He and his musical writing partner Adam Schlessinger won two Emmy Awards for OUTSTANDING Original Music and Lyrics for original songs featured in the 2011 and 2012 Tony Awards.
There have been many other Grammy, Emmy and Tony Nominations since then.
He is a Graduate of the NYU Graduate School of Music Thyeater and Composition as well as Harvard, where he he wrote for the famous Harvard Lampoon and Hasty Pudding musicals. He lives in L.A. with his wife and two daughters.
Directed by Daisy Walker, who is no stranger to the WHAT theatre. She’s done EIGHT previous plays here. She’s also directed for the Berkshire Theatre Group, The Guthrie Theatre Lab, La Jolla Playhouse, Payomet (Truro),. She was assistant Director for “Jersey Boys” Broadway National Tour. She has a distinguished resume in theatre as well as fellowships.
Lynette Freeman (God) is a Jamaican born actress, dancer, writer, from Cleveland, Ohio. She’s a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the League of Professional Theatre Women. She’s acted in theatre all around the country and is also a professional Story-teller.
Alexandra Lemus (Angel Gabriel) is frrom New York City and is an actress, writer and producer (currently with the Facebook comedy sketch group: In the Moment. She done TV, Film and Broadway theatre.
David Meyers (Angel Michael), has been in feature films (Wild Nights with Emily” starring Molly Shannon), a Lifetime TV film as well as theatre and TV commercials. This is his second play directed by Daisy Walker.
AN ACT OF GOD has performances through August 17th
Tickets are available at the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater