Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

God Does an Image Makeover

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

God Does an Image Makeover

Article excerpt

In "An Act of God," which opened Thursday night at Studio 54, the Supreme Being comes out in a white robe and red sneakers, and informs us that for this personal appearance, He's taken the human form of actor Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."

This Parsons fellow, assisted by two angels, Michael (Christopher Fitzgerald) and Gabriel (Tim Kazurinsky), proceeds to reminiscence about the old days, when He created the universe, in what he admits was a rush job.

He reveals the companion He originally devised for Adam was Steve, reasoning that two strapping humans who couldn't procreate would have more time to spend gardening in Eden. But then there was the snake, and other issues, and He decided to re-form Steve as Eve.

God also gives inside information about more recent events, such as the Flood. Noah, it seems, did not, in fact, bring two of each animal species onto the Ark. True, the boat was huge, but it's ridiculous, He says, to imagine any vessel would be large enough to accommodate so many animals.

God's suggestion to Noah was to bring along two puppies, for company.

And so it goes for 90 minutes, as author David Javerbaum -- a former head writer for "The Daily Show," who based the evening on his book "The Last Testament: A Memoir by God" - offers a mix of jokes alternately amusing and obvious about a cosmic figure whom, he declares, Man has created in his own image.

Much of the show's pleasure radiates from Parsons, who goes well beyond the constraints of the geeky, socially awkward character he plays on his sitcom to give an aggressively funny performance in the manner of an in-charge stand-up comedian -- with some artful acting thrown in.

The structure of the show, directed with pizazz but a perhaps inevitable unevenness by Joe Mantello, has God, tired of being linked forever with the Ten Commandments, using the occasion to issue a new set of commandments, which, taken together, deliver the message: Leave Me out of it.

Noting that He's been a prodigious enabler of death and destruction, which He attributes to His uncaring narcissism, He wants people to stop depending on Him and to look inside themselves for strength. …

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