by Rita Charleston
“The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged),” by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, an affectionate, irreverent ride from fig leaves to Final Judgement, continues at Allens Lane Theater through May 19. The play tackles great theological questions like did Adam and Eve have navels? Or did Moses really look like Charlton Heston? And why isn’t the word “phonetic” spelled the way it sounds?
Directed by Mariangela Saavedra and conceived by the same team that created “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” and “The Complete History of America (abridged),” among others, sets out to tell all the great stories and lessons found in the Bible in record time. Kyle Dandridge, Dan Shafer and Jared Taylor play three sinners cavorting through both the Old and New Testaments, assisted by a punk rock schoolgirl played by Angel James.
Taylor, just 17 years old, plays most of the women in the play. Be sure to look for his dancing, rapping Salome, as well as his guitar playing for two musical numbers. “I play about five women in the show, but that’s not the biggest challenge for me. In fact, it’s a lot of fun,” Taylor said. “And the audience knows we’re just playing characters that don’t really have any depth, but because I’m not in the best shape, it’s the physicality in the show that represents the biggest challenge And this show is two hours of falling and running and jumping around in a pretty warm room while wearing long.robes. All that is really physically exhausting.
“But I love performing, and this show is a good representation of who I am. I love comedy. I love telling jokes. There’s also a lot of improvisation in this show, and we have the ability to make up some of our own jokes. So when I tell some of my own and hear people laughing, that’s a great thrill for me.”
Taylor, a senior at Central High School, is the fourth generation of his family on his mother’s side to live in Mt. Airy. He has been on stage for the past six years, appearing at Allens Lane, Stagecrafters and Casabuena Cultural Productions in Mt. Airy. And he is set to attend Temple University in the fall to major in theater, so he’s looking forward to doing much more stage work in the future.
“I went to C.W . Henry School from K through 8, and in sixth grade my love of theater began,” Taylor explained. “I met Mariangela and she took me under her wing. She asked me to help out backstage when she was presenting ‘The Bible’ back then, and eventually let me say a line or two in the play. So I was familiar with the play and so happy to be cast in it now.”
With a long road ahead of him, does the young actor know how tough a road it can be? “Absolutely,” he answered confidently. “Someone once said if you can do anything else, do it. Well, I can’t. For me, this is where I want to be and what I want to be doing.”
Allens Lane Theater is located at 601 W. Allens Lane. For ticket information, call 215-248-0546.