From Here to Eternity Via Arkansas

12 Aug
August 12, 2013

“I’m having a very bad apocalypse,” says Brandon (Marco Naggar) after a long, nightmarish trip to avoid The Rapture.

It all starts when he bursts in on Rebecca (Zibby Allen) and her boyfriend Dan (Micah Cohen, alternating with Ben Belack) to tell them “Christ is back!” and people are disappearing all over New York City, leaving their clothes behind and their cars driverless and crashing into other cars.

Thus begins Samuel Brett Williams’ new play, Revelation, now having its world premiere at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood.

Brandon, whom Rebecca identifies as the certified “Jesus freak” who lives next door, is frantically urging the couple to join him on his escape to Arkansas, where his father, a back-country preacher, had assured him that The New Jerusalem would arise at the time of The Rapture.

Dan is unconvinced and decides to take shelter in his father’s apartment, but he doesn’t make it once he leaves Rebecca’s.

Rebecca, abandoned, decides to throw in her lot with Brandon and make the trip with him to Arkansas.

From here the play, and the trip, becomes a modern-day Canterbury Tales, with all sorts of weird and horrifying characters turning up to bedevil them. And Brandon keeps track as they undergo each of the Bible’s “Seven Seals”, as described in the Book of Revelations. It’s a bit like the ten plagues visited upon the Pharaoh during Passover Week. Not at all like Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal.

This may sound like a heavy-duty production, but it’s actually a lot of fun. The two principals, Marco Naggar and Zibby Allen are both excellent and letter-perfect under the tight and efficient directing of Lindsay Allbaugh, and the sound and lighting by Peter Bayne and Matt Richter keep the drama moving along expeditiously.

There’s a bit of philosophy, a bit of pseudo-religion, a lot of skepticism, and some mordant commentary on the precepts of Christianity. Finally, there is an encounter with Michael, The Gatekeeper (Carolina Espiro) who has gorgeous white full-body feathered wings, a mouth full of chewing gum, and a New York accent. He/she invites Rebecca into Heaven to lose her individual identity and become part of The Glob that will spend Eternity loving God.

The encounter is jarring for Brandon and turns him from a “Jesus freak” into, like Pinocchio, a “real boy.”

Unless you are a Jesus freak yourself, you will find much to laugh at during the course of this fast-moving 90-minute black comedy

Revelation will continue Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 7 through August 25th at the Lillian Theatre at the Elephant Stages, 1076 Lillian Way, Hollywood. Call (855) 663-6743 or visit www.ElephantTheatre.org for reservations.

Photo: Ben Belack, Zibby Allen, and Marco Naggar
Photo by Joel Daavid

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