‘An Act of God’ is divinely-inspired comedy


Todd Waite personifies God on the Alley Theatre stage. Photo courtesy of Lynn Lane / Alley Theatre

Alyssa Foley, News Editor

God is a diva; sarcastic, egotistical, prone to jealousy and ‘wrath management issues’. God also likes sneakers and Chai tea.

Want to meet God in person? He is revealing himself nightly at Houston’s Alley Theatre performances of ‘An Act of God’ through April 16.

If you are willing to step out of your world and step into God’s living room for an hour and a half, Todd Waite’s personification of God is actually believable. Everything he says on stage seems perfectly reasonable, at least when he says it.

God explains his true Ten Commandments to the modern, metropolitan audience of Houstonians in the heart of downtown at the Alley Theatre’s intimate black box Neuhaus Theatre.

The only requirement is that you be willing to laugh at yourself. Depending on your belief system and your experience with and knowledge of Christianity, you will laugh harder at some jokes than at others. But trust me, you’ll laugh.

David Javerbaum is the human ‘adaptor’ of ‘An Act of God’, he claims the Almighty wrote the text. Javerbaum is a 13-time Emmy-winning former head writer and executive producer of ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’. The show spent two years on Broadway.

Javerbaum’s divine inspiration for the show came from his book ‘The Last Testament: A Memoir by God’ and Twitter account that followed the book. He tweets to nearly two million faithful followers @TheTweetOfGod

The best parts of the script is when it pokes fun at the evolution versus creationism debate and Old Testament legends. Whether God is going on a rant about not calling his name in vain, his misunderstood views on LGBTs, or reminiscing about how much he loves his son, Alley Theatre’s favorite Todd Waite gives engaging and entertaining monologues throughout the show.

Depending on which generation you belong to, some of the pop culture references may go over your head. While half the audience may be laughing, the other half is wondering why. Don’t worry, you’ll get most of the jokes and the one’s you don’t will not affect how much you enjoy the sermon.

Even though the show is essentially a monologue, the arc of the covenant comes alive. Even God can show some character development.

On stage, God is joined only by his wingmen: the angels St. Michael and St. Gabriel. It’s hard for God not to be your favorite in the show when he has 99.9 percent of the speaking time, but there are moments when Michael (Emily Trask) steals his thunder.

I kept trying to guess if there is a double meaning why an actress is cast as Michael, the protector angel traditionally portrayed as sword-in-hand casting Satan into hell. Michael fearlessly stands up for humanity during the show.

Gabriel (John Feltch) is the only one on stage who keeps his composure throughout the show. Feltch has Morgan Freeman-type steady, calming voice—more of what you would expect God to sound like.

The backdrop is not viewer friendly for the audience seated on the west or east wings on the north end. While God discussed a new commandment, it displayed on the backdrop behind him. From where I was sitting in the west section, the text was mostly blocked by scenery. I had a hard time following what commandment Todd Waite was talking about, especially as he frequently took comical off-topic detours.

Ultimately, this performance is comedy silver, not comedy gold. Sorry, God. Blame my expectations, I thought it would be even funnier. However, it’s absolutely worth seeing for an evening of laughs and light-hearted toying with existential questions.