The Creation of the world and other business
By Arthur Miller
Saturday 25th January 2014
‘Miller’s witty story of Adam and Eve is a comedy with philosophy, in which we see the first ever birth and murder in the world. The serious issue however is the discussion over which power should rule the world.’
The Creation of the world and other business is a 1972 play from the American Playwright Arthur Miller, famous for plays such as ‘The Crucible’, ‘Death of a salesman’ and ‘Mr Peters’ Connections’. This latest version was produced by the Harrow based theatre group Proscenium, for the Compass Theatre, Ickenham.
This fascinating production has a relatively simple premise of exploring the genesis of life, examining good v evil. God v the Devil and which power would ultimately rule.
It’s origins lie in the biblical book of Genesis and it’s interesting to be reminded of the genesis of mankind, how man and woman came to be and how life developed from thereon. We note the apple tree in the garden of Eden is there by way of distraction and temptation. As we all know, Eve can’t resist and bites into the apple and forces Adam to take a bite too and from then on all manner of developments take place. And here’s me thinking apple’s were good for you!
Lucifer, the fallen archangel, more commonly referred to as the devil, was played by a woman, a Black woman, no less, Koral Neil. I wouldn’t normally associate the devil with being a Black woman – perish the thought … but then when you think about it … LoL. I don’t know if there was any particular significance in that and it wasn’t referred to on stage, so I have to presume it was part of a deliberate gender/colour free casting policy. It worked very well, with Koral putting in a fine performance as Lucifer. She didn’t though come across as particularly evil and terrifying, but that wasn’t the point. She was there to represent the role of the devil and what s/he stood for in this philosophical discussion of a play.
One of the three angels was also Black (American) and twin brothers Cain and Abel were also Black, played by the aptly named Caine Barrow (Cain) and Pride Tuhwe (Abel).
God was very well played by David Pearson (Chairman of Proscenium) and it was instructive to see the interplay between him and Lucifer. The overall sense I got was one of them needing one another in order to have a significant purpose to exist and serve mankind. Akin to life, where good and evil co-exist, leaving human beings to determine their own path in life knowing there are both good and evil paths to follow.
The story of Cain and Abel fitted nicely into this. Cain and Abel were the first children of Adam and Eve. They both offered gifts to the Lord. The Lord looked with greater favour on Cain’s and was far less impressed with Abel’s offering. As a result Cain was dejected and grew angry and bitter. So consumed was he with rage and anger that he took the life of his own younger brother Abel. He had a choice, a right and wrong way to manage his anger and feelings of rejection. Cain made the wrong choice. He lost his job as a Farmer and became a wanderer.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4: 6-7.
Whilst this is a somewhat philosophical play exploring the big issues of life and death, good versus evil, there are some nice moments of levity sprinkled along the way, such as when Eve, having observed Adam in all his naked glory, asks why she hasn’t got a penis!
This was the final night of the play. It was a riveting production, that had you captivated and paying attention from start to finish. It would be great to see this play go on tour as I am sure audiences would find it a wonderful, thought provoking show.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
© Photographs – Mark Sutherland
The story of Adam and Eve – Genesis 2:4-3:24