nytheatre.com review by Melanie Lee
August 19, 2006
Welcome to Godversations. Check your offend-o-meter at the door, and put your most cherished beliefs and concepts about God on the back burner—or under a microscope.
Godversations, penned by Larry Brenner and directed by Betsy Karic, is a series of rapid-fire skits in which God talks to Satan, Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham and Isaac, Moses, Job, and Barry, a modern-day talk show host. On a bare stage with only a few chairs and a trunk which doubles as an altar, God tries to cope with the humans he created and the humans try to cope with pleasing and understanding a supreme being.
This God (Gil Parkin), dressed in white toga, sandals, and heavy eyeliner, is quite annoyed, even way uptight. He hates being disobeyed, yet he prefers common sense over blind obedience. All he wants is to create and to be appreciated.
At first God talks in Jacobean "thys" and "thous." Satan, acting as his secretary, keeps reminding God of details of creating the world. When God tells the solitary Adam to "Be fruitful and multiply," Adam asks, "How?" Eve, when created, and told the Garden of Eden's rules, asks, "If we're not going to eat of that tree, why did you make it?" God gets fed up with the questions: "Why not a 'thank you' to the guy who gave you life and gave you the WHOLE FREAKIN' WORLD?!!"
He's unimpressed with Cain's gift of fruit: "So that's what you think of me, that I'm a dog who can eat your scraps? ...I just want to know that you care!" When Moses suggests giving the confused Israelites a set of rules, God creates a commandment about attitude—covetousness—explaining, "I want everyone to know they're a sinner, so I put in a toughie. Keeps them from being holier-than-thou. I can't stand people like that."
Parkin is funny as his God transforms from needy and bitchy to more relaxed and self-aware. The other players—Mark Cirnigliaro, Carly Robbins, and the playwright Brenner—perform their multiple roles well.
Although Godversations contains some clever insights into what God may really want from us, it somehow lacks the gravitas due its subject matter. I'm not saying that this play should've been more somber, or longer. The rapid delivery may be responsible for Godversations' fluffy, throwaway attitude, as if director Karic was afraid to give the audience time to think about what it was hearing. It's making an appetizer of what could've been a meal.
Other than this, if you can put aside your most offendable sensibilities for 45 minutes, you may come away with a funny, enjoyable time of sketch comedy theatre.