PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - What on earth was God thinking when he put forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden if he didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat it? Audiences attending the original play “Back to the Garden” soon will find out what was on God’s mind. Or at least what’s on the mind of award-winning playwright Albi Gorn, who has come up with his own fanciful answers, along with provocative questions worth pondering.
This imaginative, often humorous re-telling of Genesis by the Hastings-on-Hudson resident, featuring all local actors—including Mahopac actor Robert Ansbro—has its Westchester premiere now through Nov. 17 at Axial Theatre in Pleasantville. It is co-produced by Axial Theatre and GoJo Clan Productions, the theater company of Mr. Gorn and Robin Anne Joseph, who is directing Back to the Garden.
Follow Adam and Eve as they are expelled from the Garden where they learn to fend for themselves in the Wilderness that lies beyond. When they encounter the sometimes bumbling and often volatile inhabitants of civilization's dawn, they learn how to help these people in their struggle to survive and discover the truth about God’s power—and their own.
In the “Back to the Garden” cast of 10 are, along with Ansbro as Nomad, are Stavros Adamides (Nyack) as Wayfare; Jennifer Berry (New Paltz) as Fecunda; Anthony Barresi, Jr. (Peekskill) as Serpent; Michael E. Boyle, Jr. (Ossining) as Shomein; Torian Brackett (Mount Vernon) as Adam; Dawn Brown-Berenson (South Salem) as God; Marilyn Collazo (Ossining) as Nehebeth; Gail Greenstein (Katonah) as The Guardian; Maddy Murphy (Hastings-on-Hudson) as Eve.
Playwright Gorn says the idea for “Back to the Garden” was cultivated in the early 1990s when he joined a women’s study group at Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson, where his wife, Robin Anne Joseph, is cantor.
The purpose of the group, he says, was to interpret anew how women are depicted in the Bible.
“I was the only man,” Gorn said, “and I was taken by how these extremely well-read women brought their own brilliant ideas to the stories of Eve, Lot’s Wife, Sarah and Miriam. From that, I crafted two songs and two plays. One of those plays is ‘Back to the Garden.’”
Performance times are Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m. A special option for theater groups attending the show is to schedule a “Talkback” discussion with the writer, director, and cast after the performance, at no additional charge. It can be arranged by contacting BackToTheGarden2019@gmail.com.
Axial Theatre is at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 8 Sunnyside Ave., Pleasantville.
Tickets can be purchased at BackToTheGarden.bpt.me for $25 adult, $20 seniors and students. For more information: GoJoClanProductions.com; AxialTheatre.org. or email BackToTheGarden2019@gmail.com.