Dallas — The archangel Gabriel has had it up the here with “God with a capital G.”
The affable angel appears to us in a rumpled suit and loosely knotted tie with a pair of small white wings bobbing behind him that don’t look up to the task of raising this angel off the stage, never mind into the air.
“Hi! I just flew in from heaven. I’m Gabe,” he says. After a quick hands-up survey of Christians, atheists or other religions in the audience, he says he never sat on the right hand of God, but rather the left hand. “The wiping hand,” he says, grimacing, and admitting he got a lot of the dirty jobs, though that’s not exactly the word he employs to describe his missions.
The Book of Gabe, a one-man show written and starring Isaac Young and presented by the new Eccentric Bear Theatre Company at the Festival of Independent Theaters, fits the eccentric billing just fine. Armed only with his personal journal and a heavily thumbed Bible that he occasionally flips through for a prompt, Young’s sardonic and wistful celestial being sets us up in the language of the King James version, and then delivers a funny punch with his easy irreverence. Director Jenna Richanne Hannum keeps her angel moving about as he ponders his past and talks to folks in the front row.
In the 50-minute show, Gabe narrates a tale combining both profane and touching images about his interface over the centuries with a God and man. Mostly, he feels sorry for hapless humans, adrift in a world they never made and feeling guilty about everything under the sun. “I like you guys,” he says, explaining why he’s moving permanently to earth.
One really tough job was her talk with Mary. “I told her I was the second uncle to God and tried to comfort the child as she tried to figure out how to deliver the news that she’s pregnant with the son of God to her parents and friends.” And that’s just for starters.
Young’s Gabe is best employing his satiric voice, echoing Mark Twain and the master’s famous scolds to God in Letters from the Earth and The Diaries of Adam and Eve. “Capital G” comes off as a bored tyrant playing mean and loose with the people he made in a fit of loneliness and who he revisits occasionally to torment with plagues and tease with the hope of salvation. Hey, who can blame Gabe for leaving that sadistic divinity to his own private heaven.
Toward the end of the show, as he moves to the current numbers of today’s populations of people dying and being born in accelerating numbers, Gabe gets a bit bogged down in his vaguely mystical references to some kind of cosmic “balance” prevailing.
Still, we’ve all had some laughs, thanks to Young’s droll delivery, and a reminder of how sweet it is to be human, since even a famous angel would give us his wings and eternal life to be one of us.
The Book of Gabe continues in the following performance blocks:
- 8pm Thursday, July 26
- 8pm Saturday, July 28
- 2pm Sunday, July 29
- 2pm Saturday, Aug. 4
The 20th Festival of Independent Theatres
July 13- August 4, 2018
Bath House Cultural Center,
521 E. Lawther Drive, Dallas
Tickets and passes go on sale in late June
Call 800-617-6904 or visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.org