Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 18, 2011 at 5:02pm

In “Everyman,” Josh Anderson is God

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Josh Anderson is playing God.

The director-composer-pianist-actor is featured in the St. Martin's University production of the 15th-century morality tale, Everyman.

"I had never played the character of God before, so I thought, ‘Why not?' " Anderson says.

The play travels across the campus following Everyman's pilgrimage to face the angry God (Anderson). It's something of a tradition at St. Martin's, where it's been produced five times in the past 20 years.

God typically has some sort of celebrity status, says director Judy Turner.

"We've looked to someone who is kind of iconic," she says. Hence Anderson, also known as the alter ego of traveling vaudevillian Saul Tannenbaum.

I can't help imagining Tannenbaum delivering a musical number a la Mel Brooks's "History of the World: Part I."

But Anderson is approaching the part - and the interview - seriously.

"It's tough to talk about playing the role without delving into those questions that are best left to theologians," he says.

Though the play's characters - including Beauty, Strength and Death - are larger-than-life symbols, God is rather human, more disappointed dad than deity.

"There's no way to play omnipresence or omniscience on stage," Anderson says. "If we knew how to do that, there wouldn't be a bunch of people talking about finding enlightenment."

But that's not to say the play won't have lighter moments.

"We take Everyman's journey toward death seriously, but we're definitely finding the moments of humor," Turner says.

And there just is something funny about Anderson - or perhaps anyone at all - playing God.

"When I did the first rehearsal, I just got up there and did the monologue, and I was very serious, and people were laughing," Anderson says. "There might be some inherent comedy there that I am not entirely conscious of.

"That's probably a good thing, because you don't want to play it for laughs."

Everyman

April 20-23, April 27-30, 6:45 p.m.; $5
St. Martin's University, 5300 Pacific Ave. S.E., Lacey
Beginning in front of O'Grady Library
www.stmartin.edu or www.brownpapertickets.com

Filed under: Theater, Olympia, Arts,
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