The Diaries of Adam and Eve

by James Still (with a bow to Mark Twain)
Directed by Michael Donald Edwards
Starring Kris Danford and Sam Osheroff
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts/Mertz Theatre
5555 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota, 941-351-8000
December 18, 2009 to February 25, 2010 in repertory

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

In the Beginning there's a lushly colorful Eden, like a Disney pop-up of a canvas by Rousseau. Adam's casual, enjoying flora and fauna in the cusp of an enormous tree loaded with gigantic ruby apples. From a rock-edged pond emerges a strange creature: Adam will never again be a lone man. Notice I didn't say "lonely" because he finds her always looking at, following, TALKING to him. What is he to make of this creature, who calls herself Eve and spends so very much time and effort naming things? In fact, she questions herself: who, where, why she is. She can talk to animals, who understand her, but she doesn't understand them. True, cows inspired her name for her favorite Moon. Eve notices that all but the creature in the tree live in pairs and have mothers. While the man brags, "I have everything I need," she feels lonesome. Just after they make acquaintance over her gift of a banana, her need for activity--could she get other people into Eden or lead them on tours?--seems to make her  "superfluous" (his first substantial word) to Adam. Though she leaves on a sort of safari for a while, on her return, what's good is that they discover kissing. What's bad is that it's not long before the snake gets to them. Soon they both have to leave Eden. Together.


For a 2000+ years anniversary, the couple, tailored, wearing shades and toting wheeled luggage, revisit their first home, now a resort named "E" where they'll try to rekindle their old fire. Eve's a Hollywood script reader, not the successful writer she'd hoped to be. Talking a mile a minute still, but on her cell phone, she finds the place pretty much the same. It's different for Adam, now a family counselor, who points out the stump, once their tree. Though he'd like them to sample various activities offered in the resort's brochure, he mostly wants phone-less peace. If they seem to be arguing as of old, isn't it because "that's what married people do"?  After regretting much about their kids, they loll in the pond turned Jacuzzi to go over their past and deal with the pressures of being a pair. She begins a diary. Everything goes so appropriately for a play inspired by Mark Twain's 1893 Extracts from Adam's Diary and later Eve's Diary.


Just as it took two designers, Scott Bradley and Bruce Ostler under tech wizard Vic Meyrich, to lusciously re-create Paradise, so its perfect inhabitants are cute marrieds Sam Osheroff and Kris Danford. Director Melissa Kievman has them grow comedy from every seed playwright James Still planted in Twain-tinged Eden. I've often heard but never used the term "laugh-a-minute" yet I swear that's what Danford's Eve provokes with her early musings and chatter. Osheroff's ability to make Adam resist her is admirable. Further, it sets up a dramatic contrast with his positive attitude centuries later. That is where drama and seriousness take over. The couple adapt. From moon-madness to star quality.


I like the way the director uses the pond and Jacuzzi, not overplaying the symbolism of water. Music and sound by Matthew Parker, along with Dan Scully's lighting effects, furnish much of the play's differing atmospheres. Costumer David Covach may disappoint those who want the first couple nude at first, but I find his choices, though flesh colored, better suit the playwright's tone. When the play goes into lower key, so do the principals' outfits, swimsuits included.


Asolo Rep's production charms for 2 hours, 20 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. Stage Manager is Sarah Gleissner.

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