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Searching for Eden

Mark Twain wrote two small books, diaries of Adam and Eve, as gifts for his wife. Playwright James Still has used these accounts as a takeoff point for "Searching for Eden," an amiable comedy currently playing at the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre.

Act one finds Adam, a very winning David Alan Anderson, rather comfortable and pleased with himself as the solitary member of his species in Eden. Adam is quite surprised by the dramatic appearance of Eve, the equally engaging but more thoughtful Ora Jones, from a pool in the middle of the IRT’s clever stage set by Russell Metheny. Eve is very much the suitor in their amusing co-discoveries of the garden world. Eve becomes the leader in their naming of the garden’s flora and fauna. Sometimes Adam is a bit comically irked by her forwardness. Unfortunately, one of Eve’s discoveries is the prohibited apple, but the two do leave their garden, arm-in-arm.

In act two of "Searching for Eden" at the IRT, we’re in the 21st century. The modern Adam and Eve are a power couple. He’s a marriage counselor. She’s a movie script reader. They’ve escaped or almost escaped their offices for a weekend celebrating the anniversary of their marriage. Neither’s office is quite ready for the couple to escape. Adam and then Eve solve that problem by using their Edenic pool, now a hotel hot tub, as a handy place to store their cell phones. In modern times, it’s Adam very much the suitor and Eve a bit standoffish. Emotionally it is a little perplexing, though schematically it does makes sense.

David Bradley has directed a lively production of "Searching for Eden." Though there are only two actors, they’re both very appealing in the many comic and even in the few serious moments of the play. Composer and sound designer Michael Keck artfully weaves bluesy harmonica, sounds of nature and some modern pieces for a continuous tapestry that supports and comments on the action.

"Searching for Eden," a comedy of Adam and Eve’s meeting in the garden in ancient times and their celebration of their wedding anniversary in the 21st century, continues at the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre with performances through May 28th.

George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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