Brad Wages insists he doesn’t have a swollen head playing the almighty in the Venice Theater production of “An Act of God.”
In fact, he describes the experience as God playing him in David Javerbaum’s comedy, which opens Friday at the Pinkerton Theater.
The show begins with his character “being God, the feeling of what we think God is and looks like, that feeling of strength and almighty,” Wages said. “And then he walks into the moment where he says I’m not the God your mother told you about.”
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In a twist that sounds like a riff from the Carl Reiner movie “Oh, God! With George Burns, this God takes over the body of Brad Wages and appears to the public in that form.
“The script adapts to the actor,” Wages said. “You use your sense of humor to tell the story. Brad doesn’t know he’s here. He just tells the story in human form and there is God in me. It’s not the guy in the white robe with the long flowing beard.
In fact, the up-front photos depict him as someone with the flash of Elton John or Elvis Presley, with jeweled glasses, a fluffy white shirt, and a skirt under a pale blue jacket.
Longtime hit “The Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons first performed the play on Broadway in 2015 and Sean Hayes of “Will and Grace” performed on his return a year later. The New York Times called the play “a shootout of priceless and funny irreverence.”
The satirical style of the play is to be expected. Javerbaum was a writer for “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert, and the play is based on his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God” and the @TheTweetofGod Twitter account. Online he recently posted articles such as “Stop Praying.” I clearly don’t listen ”and“ Don’t waste time worrying about what other people think. Because you already know what they are thinking. They think you suck.
Wages, who is the primary theater teacher in the education program and a frequent director, said the play was a challenge because “there are a lot of words and a lot of stories.” Aside from helping Archangels Michael and Gabriel played, respectively, by Patrick Mounce and Debbi White, he’s pretty much center stage, interacting with audience members, throughout the 90-minute play.
“This is not the type of God Charlton Heston, ‘Ten Commandments’ that you saw. It’s a little irreverent. He’s more humanized. Showing the faults of God, ”Wages said.
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Director Dennis Clark, who directs musicals more regularly (when he’s not performing), said the play had religious touches but posed big questions that most of us could ponder.
“It’s for people who have questions about the universe or where we’re from, why bad things happen to good people,” Clark said. “These are existential questions that we try to uncover during the play. There is a religious aspect to it, but it is universal.
The play allows God to tell his version of familiar Bible stories like Noah and the ark, and Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son at God’s command.
The director and actor agree that the story of the Garden of Eden opens up many new interpretations and possibilities.
Clark said there is a stand-up comedy feel to the play, “but as the show progresses, God becomes a little more human. He has a more serious tone, and in the end, even if we make all these jokes, and laugh at these stories, it gets touching.
Wages said he went to church growing up and believed certain things about religion because he was told to have faith. The play asks some of the same questions he had when he was a kid.
“The story of Abraham going to sacrifice his son. Why would God have asked him to do this? If you love me so much, kill your child? Salary says. “And I always wondered how all these animals could fit on the ark.”
The New York Times said the play had God riffing “extensively on the stupid and destructive behavior of mankind, especially how his words and actions have been misinterpreted over millennia, causing suffering and conflict. endless. Some of the words in the Bible, he assures us, are indeed literally true. With others, well, there is a little leeway.
If they are successful, the play will make the audience laugh and think.
“It asks a lot of questions in your head about what kind of God he is,” Wages said. “All of these disasters happen over the years, and we’re told it’s God’s will. Why. The play says that maybe you can have a little confidence in yourself and its Creator and have a happy balance. “
Clark said drama is “a great way to teach people about things in a different way. It makes God very human. He has human reactions. I think it’s easier to make connections if God is more like us.
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“An act of God”
By David Javerbaum. Directed by Dennis Clark. Operates Aug 27 to Sep 5 at the Pinkerton Theater, Venice Theater, 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice. Tickets cost $ 22, $ 15 for university students, and $ 12 for students up to grade 12. 941-488-1115; venicetheatre.org