note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Beverly Creasey
Arthur Miller’s CREATION OF THE WORLD and other business (at the Theatre Coop in Somerville) starts off as a madcap romp through Eden: Adam and Eve gaily frolicking in the pond, cavorting with athlete’s foot, savoring the roses, all OF COURSE without KNOWLEDGE of the birds and the bees….That is, until Lucifer convinces God that they will need to procreate (and to do so they have to eat that forbidden fruit of the tree of KNOWLEDGE). So off they go, expelled from Eden, copulating willy-nilly and stumbling over God’s well-placed obstacles.
The romp soon digresses into a dialectic for God vs. Lucifer. I guess Miller had to change gears because a spoof can’t possibly last two-and a half hours but oh how I wish he had stuck with ‘madcap.’ The “corrective symmetry” Lucifer provides to a “perfect” God is the stuff of great debate (“If man doesn’t kill man, is God necessary?” asks Lucifer) but Miller creates adorable characters, then saddles them with oppressive polemics. And since I’m carping about Miller’s universe, he left out the BIG question: How was Cain able to people the earth all by himself? After Cain came Seth, not Susan!
My curiosity aside, the Coop production (directed by the inventive Fred Robbins) happily has two actors of stature to carry the weight of the world. Naeemah A. White-Peppers is a wily and seductive Lucifer to Forrest Walter’s prim and prudish God. And as the mortals, Marc Harpin is hilarious as a perennially cheery Adam and Chinasa Ogbuagu makes Eve a savvy first lady.
Set designer Tom Callahan makes clever use of the cavernous Coop space by having Lucifer descend into a glowing red (lit by Matt Soule) stairway to Hell. The stairway to Heaven is a Mount Olympus affair, with God’s robes getting fancier with each section of the play, until he’s ditched his toga deal for a jewel encrusted prom gown! And I haven’t even begun to describe Adam and Eve’s gloriously naughty garb! Perhaps I won’t. (I couldn’t find a costume designer listed in the program???)
Sam Young is a spunky Cain and Michael Avellar a cheeky goody two-shoes Abel and Miller mines some good laughs from Cain’s territorial nature. Yindy Vatanavan is a petulant angel of death and Kate Frederic is her sweet but outranked counterpart, the angel of mercy. (Miller shortchanges the angels by giving them too little to do.) Imagine what revelations Miller will unearth in the sequel, from Cain to Armageddon!