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Neil Simon's 'God's Favorite'

Rethinking the Book of Job

POSTED: November 7, 2012 2:06 p.m.
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Asbury Memorial Theatre's production of Neil Simon's "God's Favorite" starts in Savannah Friday.

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“The story of Job,” says Pam Spears, “isn’t funny until you get it through the pen of Neil Simon.”

A longtime professor of theater at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Spears sits on the board of directors at Asbury Memorial Theatre, which produces plays at Asbury Memorial United Methodist Church. She and Ronnie Spilman are co-directing Simon’s comedy God's Favorite at Asbury this week and next.

God’s Favorite is Simon’s comical interpretation of the trials of Job — tycoon Joe Benjamin (Ray Ellis), after a visit by a mysterious stranger, suffers a serious of ailments.

“Obviously, people don’t want to go to the theater to see someone suffer,” Sears points out. “But it’s such an interesting twist on the way that new discoveries are made with each new ailment. And the relationship between father and son that he brings in, in the last hour.

“It’s funny, and then there’s a nice, heartwarming few moments as well.”

The Asbury cast also includes Wesley Dasher, Ed Davis, Cheri Hester, Jeremy Kole, Melissa McNaughton, Les Taylor, and Gwyn Yarbrough.

After a decade in AASU’s performing arts department, Sears says, she’s excited about directing community theater, and with a different talent pool.

“I haven’t worked in the community very much at all since I’ve been working at Armstrong,” she explains, “so this is good for me in terms of bringing more local knowledge back into the classroom, and to develop the relationships a little bit.”

 

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