My friend, a man who is so crazy about theater that he would go, as they say, to the opening of an envelope, left at intermission. 1812 Productions, a theater company dedicated to comedy, seems to have traded in that mission for religion. The God Project is an unabashed sermon on the need for faith, barely leavened with a couple of lame jokes and even lamer songs.
Jen Childs and Sean Close wrote the script and cast themselves as two night-shift workers in a huge Ikea-like warehouse. Both, it turns out, are the children of pastors and grew up in the church. She loved it; he hated it. Or so he says, hiding his feelings under “layers of sarcasm,” but hiding nothing in his messy, loud overacting. She keeps hanging crosses around the necks of the store’s displays. Santa, Cupid — she is indiscriminate in her co-opting and proseletizing. Knowing she missed a lot of life — going to the seminary as she’d wanted to, falling in love — she keeps a multiple-page checklist to make sure she doesn’t miss anything. There is pathos there, but despite Childs’ appealing delivery, not much else.
She keeps praying (“Are you there, God? It’s me, Sheila”), waiting for divine direction to her life. He keeps playing the same song over and over at a club (“I’m just navel-gazin’”), hoping to be inspired to compose new songs and discovered as a singer. As we move through the year (Christmas, Valentine’s Day), eventually we arrive at Easter, with Drew (she keeps calling him Andrew, in the character’s bossy way) in a bunny costume. The biblical parable of the empty tomb is repeated over and over, using empty Easter eggs as a metaphor (never mind that the disappointed children are expecting candy).
Joilet Harris makes several appearances, as Val, their boss in the warehouse, and as a music agent, and as someone/something dressed variously in a Hawaiian getup and then in a long gown. Harris’ wonderful singing voice is entirely wasted in this show.
The God Project