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Arthur Miller's Creation done right at The Schmee
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Arthur Miller's Creation done right at The Schmee

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

The Creation
of the World
and Other Business
Theater Schmeater
Through October 10


It's a story as old as Adam and Eve. In fact, it is the story of Adam and Eve, and Satan/Lucifer, and God. The premise of Arthur Miller's play, The Creation of the World and Other Business, now presenting at Theater Schmeater, is that there is more to the creation story than we know. Lucifer is trying really hard to help God out. God, however, thinks Lucifer is out on a power grab - that old "jealous God" thing, perhaps.

The play has been around for a while, but seldom has it been done as artfully and humorously. This is a completely "grownup" production. Those that the script calls out as naked are naked. Matthew Middleton as Adam is as innocent and childlike as can be. He doesn't know he's naked. Nor does Heather Roberts as Eve. Arthur Miller makes a credible argument for why God ultimately needs to kick Adam and Eve out of the garden, and even why God puts a tree with apples on it in the middle of the garden and then forbids them to eat it.

Middleton and Roberts have full characters right from the beginning and grow into an old married couple with realistic emotional weight. Roberts, in particular, has great comic timing. Both of them are very nice to watch (yes, that does have two meanings).

The heart of the play is Lucifer, played with conviction by Alexander Samuels. Samuels justifies every move his character makes. Lucifer's thought process is right there on Samuels' face. Samuels makes you feel sorry for Lucifer and God's insistence on only seeing his bad side. He makes Lucifer's move toward fully embracing evil a consequence of God's inattention, and understandable to all of us who want attention from a loved one and get so mad that we go in an opposite direction since we've been "condemned" there anyway.

God is played with gravity and jealousy by James Weidman. God has three (underused) angels: Raphael (Lisa Branham), Azrael (Deneice Bleha) and Chemuel (Amelia Meckler). They have some funny moments, but almost aren't needed in the play at all, even at the end - maybe especially at the end. All three actresses do what they can with the roles.

Anthony Duckett as Cain and Natural Israel as Abel don't come in till the second half, but Duckett is heart-rending as Cain when he is caught in a fever of anger and kills his brother. The play takes a turn toward drama at that point, so successfully that the audience held its breath at the end, afraid to break the moment by clapping.

J.D. Lloyd directs a long script with great timing and great humor. The lush set by Steve Cooper is rather amazing. The Schmee does not have a huge budget, but they come up with some real doozies in their set design. Costumes by Julia Evanovich ("Costumes? They're naked!"), sound by Larry A. Ryan, and lighting by Regan MacStravic are properly supportive. Fight choreographer Paul Ray helps create a good fight at the end and a realistic, bloody ending. See the play as it is meant to be done! For more information, go to www.schmeater.org or call 206-324-5801.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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