‘An Act of God’ takes leap of faith at George Street Playhouse

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – If anyone can portray God, it must be Kathleen Turner. Local theatre goers are fortunate indeed, to have the throaty, stage smart Turner in our midst.

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Turner, of course, is not only an acclaimed actress, but a female God with plenty to say about the ups and downs of religion and contemporary life. She has two ‘angels’ to help her out, Stephen DeRosa as Michael and Jitson as Gabriel. There they are in white suits, with white, feathery wings attached.

The trio goes through the 10 commandments, more or less, with plenty of asides on today’s problems. Turner, as God, talks about her relationship with her son, Jesus, and how he suffered on the cross. And, at one point, that scene becomes poignant. But overall, it’s anything but reverential, filled mostly with laughs and witty asides.  Turner walks us through the whole challenge of creating the universe, the fish and birds (she originally intended that the fish would fly in the sky with their gills while the birds would swim in the water with their feathers. But, ultimately, she revised the plan.

Then she goes through the need for Adam (named because it’s the beginning of the alphabet) to have a companion, Steve. That didn’t work out too well and, eventually, Steve became Eve. David Javerbaum’s script is hilarious and full of surprises. As the former lead writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he has a clear handle on the absurd contradictions in today’s world. Turner has just the right flair, as she periodically bring up her celebrity and journey to New Brunswick. As she notes, Rutgers is the only state university that doesn’t have the state in its name.

George Street Playhouse performances are currently being held on the Rutgers Cook County campus while its new theatre is being built.  Be sure you check directions before you come. Set design is by Timothy R. Mackabee, costume design by Esther Arroyo and lighting by Jason Lyons. Original music and sound design are by Scott Killian. The thunder, flashing lights and other celestial effects enhance the melodramatic flair of this production.

“Act of God,” has been directed with a smooth, rapid-fire pace by David Saint. The play continues through Dec. 23 at the theatre’s temporary (for two years) location on College Farm Road in New Brunswick. For tickets, call 732-246-7717 or visit GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org.