The Words Of God

The Words Of God

APT comedy lets ‘the Big Man’ have His say


“Irreverent” is perhaps the single word that best describes “An Act of God.”

That’s no surprise when you understand that the comedy — opening June 8 at Arkansas Public Theatre — was written by David Javerbaum, a former head writer for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” He was also one of the primary authors of “America (The Book),” released by “The Daily Show,” and won a raft of awards for both endeavors. And he spent three years writing for The Onion.

So when God decided He needed to Tweet, apparently He turned to Javerbaum — and that Twitter account, @TheTweetOfGod, quickly amassed more than a million followers. Of course, Javerbaum would then ghost write “The Last Testament: A Memoir By God,” which came out in 2011, and led to the play, which has starred Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” and Sean Hayes of “Will and Grace,” among others.

Photo courtesy Danielle Keller
Michael Myers, front, acts as the voice of God, with Kris Isham, left, and Ed McClure, right, as two of His archangels in “An Act of God.” The comedy was created by David Javerbaum, a writer for “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and The Onion.

All that said, you’ve been warned. “An Act of God” is not for the faint of heart but for the hearty sense of humor.

“I would say ‘irreverent with poignancy,” says Ed McClure, who is the production chairman for Arkansas Public Theatre and a member of the cast. “No one should be afraid to see God speaking plainly,” adds director Brenda Mashburn Nemec.

But back to irreverence. Ordinarily, the three actors appearing in the APT production approach interviews soberly, thoughtfully — but not this time. Just ask Michael Myers — unforgettable as Dr. Frank N. Furter in “The Rocky Horror Show” at APT — why “An Act of God” appealed to him.

“This show allows you to have a god complex, and it’s not only acceptable, but people pay money to see it,” he says. “You also don’t get many opportunities to smite Ed McClure.”

McClure, one of the founders of the theater company and a frequent director and actor, plays one of God’s right-hand men. Why did he want to be in the show?

“I get to wear linen pants, sensible shoes and angel’s wings.”

And the other angel, Kris Isham — recently in “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” at APT — says “the irreverence of the script could divide the audience more dramatically than the Red Sea.” But, he adds seriously, “it has seeds that can be the genesis of engaging discussions.”

Less a play than a 90-minute monologue by an actor speaking for the Big Man — “peppered with interjections” by the angels — “An Act of God” requires no one involved to take himself too seriously. And Isham thinks that extends to the subject of the play.

“If God has a sense of humor — and I hope He does — and said He would give a lecture complaining about humanity’s finite grasp of infinite nuance, wouldn’t you at least want to be a fly on the wall?”

At the heart of God’s willingness to sit down for a chat — among the candelabra and disco balls — is this:

“Yea, I have grown weary of the Ten Commandments, in exactly the same way that Don McLean has grown weary of ‘American Pie,’” He says. And so, He has come to rewrite the list — add a few, update a few. But God might not be … perfect Himself.

“The Bible says God made us in his image — so this script sort of turns that on its head and presents a God in our image,” muses McClure. “Funny, flawed, and at times, very human.”

Photo courtesy Danielle Keller
The Big Man might be as human as His followers — and his angels — in “An Act of God,” opening June 8 at Arkansas Public Theatre.

“Having the Big Man Himself inside of you for 90 minutes is exhausting, but exhilarating,” adds Myers. “This show really puts God on a more human-level; He’s more down-to-earth, if you will.”

“The edge here,” writes Kate Wingfield in Metro Weekly, “is the playwright’s speculation as to what kind of personality might account for the vagaries of the universe … Whether it is an atheist’s jape, a fanciful silliness or sheer blasphemy will be very much in the eye of the beholder.”


‘An Act of God’

WHEN — 8 p.m. June 8-9; 2 p.m. June 10; again June 14-17

WHERE — Arkansas Public Theatre in Rogers

COST — $20-$27

INFO — 631-8988


Categories: Cover Story