O My God, by Anat Gov and translated from the Hebrew by Anthony Berris and Margalit Rodgers takes the concept of "man talks to god" and completely turns it on its head in a way that is fascinating. The play currently playing at the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company follows what would happen if God was in crisis and decided to go and see a secular child psychologist for help. The casting of James A Williams as God was all that I needed to convince me to go and see the show. He plays a God that swings between being terrifying to being a pitiful emotional wreck, in other words he plays a God that is very human.
The play directed by Robert Dorfman pairs God with a psychologist that may be in need of a bit of help herself. Ella, portrayed by Laura Stern with great emotion nuance, is the single mother of Lior, a young man with autism played wonderfully by Sean Carroll. She has a seemingly successful career, filled with several anonymous but high level clients, but struggles with her regrets from the past and her hopes for the future. And God being God knows exactly what buttons to press.
The set designed by Michael Hoover is a warm and homely outdoor living room, that serves as both a living and office space. It transforms the stage into home and a perfect environment on which to watch the story and conversation unfold.
The play seemed to start a bit clumsily, the conceit of the play relies on Ella agreeing whole heartedly that the being she is speaking to is God. Although there is depth brought to the play with Ella being a secular woman, and it is natural for a psychologist to believe that a man saying he is God is more likely to be suffering from a condition than to be the creator of the universe himself, the sudden switch from this debate in the legitimacy of the identity of the divine felt a bit awkward. Once this switch is made however the conversation that plays out is a fascinating and moving one to watch.
O My God plays at the Minnesota Jewish Theater company now through November 17th. It is a perfect show for anyone who enjoys watching philosophical conversations unfurl. Click here for more information on the show and how to get tickets.
*Photo courtesy of Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company