In the Garden, Mother Eve readies a celebration of family and faith. She opens her doors to all: the downtrodden, the wicked, the faithful, the loved, and unloved. Equally. Not surprising—she’s made in the image of God, and the God of Eve’s Big Fat Family Reunion is benevolent. And Female (I think).
Lillith (Jacqui Farkas) turns up in the opening song to dispel rumors spread by “Satan’s SuperPac.” For those who don’t know, she’s one of the most intriguing women not in the Bible. Adam’s supposed first wife, God exiles her after she walks out on a passionless marriage and shacks up with someone else (as some stories tell). Must of burned-up certain versions of Jehovah.
She is tattooed, pierced. A rebel-rouser who finds the hearth manned by the unflappable Eve (Christine Callsen). Made of sugar and spice, and everything nice, Eve offers Lilith a place at the family table and together they jaunt down memory-lane, catching-up on all that’s unfolded since Lil’s absence.
As a Bible-belter still seeking rehabilitation, I find faith sticky. But I do love art that takes it to the edge, dangles it over an abyss, and dares us to snatch it back. This show does not do that.
It does exalt women, rehashing some of the oldest questions we (women) have ever asked. Why are men who “serve” defined as ministers while women who “serve” are called maids? Why are women either wanton or washed-up? Must we always smile, nod, and affirm a man’s ego with an emphatic “Great”?
Eve’s Big Fat Family Reunion
by Lois Cecsarini
at Fort Fringe – Redrum
612 L Street NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Details and tickets
This musical answers none of these questions, and I’m not sure if that was the show’s intent—so if you’re looking for depth, not gonna find it here. You will find a medley of Bible vignettes, from the female perspective, tied by song. A confection of genres, fun lyrics infuse the tunes, which (nearly) culminate in “Good Girl,” a Grease-inspired doo-wop with a dash of Hair. It’s got the spunk missing from some other numbers.
I wanted more Kedren Spencer, who did double duty as Hagar and Jezebel. She sings with resplendence and gets far too little stage time, along with Jacks Walter as Junia. Both flowed through their short scenes with warm, welcoming energy.
Jacqui Farkas isn’t completely convincing as the tradition-bucking Lilith, and I like my Eve to have more bite. She did, after all, commit original sin, and I hate seeing the woman who, arguably, gave us vice reduced to the matron-saint of motherly worry. Mothers were once young girls who misstepped—and that’s worth acknowledging. Mary Yew (Narrator/Voice of God) maintains a silly, patronizing grin that reminds me of Missouri ministers full of fakeness. Not my cup of tea.
The dialogue isn’t unfunny, but it’s also not gut-busting. The whole time, I was bothered that non-white women were, really, just in periphery roles. But, Lois Cecsarini (composer, lyricist, playwright, director) has done her research and her work. Strong songs bolster an ambitious, complex, and many-faceted look at the (female) Bible.