‘The Creation of the World’ is Worth Your Time

All photos by Andre R. Gagne.

When The Creation of the World and Other Business opened in 1972, the New York Times reviewer said “…the whole thing has the air of a comic-strip version of Genesis.” As the years went on, Creation’s press didn’t get much better. 20 years later in 1993 the Chicago Reader said “…The only reason I can imagine for the writing of this play is a pressing need to pay off the mortgage on the summer home.”

Ouch. Fortunately, The Creation of the World and Other Business has aged like a fine bottle of wine, and today it’s an interesting take on some of the fundamental human questions. The play tackles good versus evil, justice versus injustice and there is even a unique, circus twist on the Divine. It has some funny, unusually comedic approaches to the subject, but they work.

Johnny Eaton and David Plouffe.

The play is divided into three sections. The first deals with Adam and Eve, their creation, their idyllic lives and sugar-sweet innocence in Eden. God wants them to procreate but they are not interested in that at all. God, who is ever powerful and slightly egotistical in this interpretation of the Divine, lacks wisdom. Enter the ambitious, power-seeking Lucifer with some mischievous ideas on how to achieve God’s goal. God doesn’t agree, Lucifer presses forward anyway, is banished to Hell, and Adam and Eve are kicked out of Eden. Childbirth seems to be the punishment for Eve in the second section and then the Cain and Abel saga ensues with lots of philosophical debate. Human conflict and the Divine’s response to it are also thrown into the mix.

Bearing in mind it was written in the 1970s, Creation is less than politically correct in sections, but overall the dialogue is engaging and supremely satisfying. The discussions between Lucifer and God are fascinating and thought provoking.

The acting in this 9th Hour production is strong without exception, but the circus-themed additions (the play within the play interpretation) may leave you scratching your head. However, it does not take away from the overall impact of the play and the whole production is definitely worth seeing.

The Creation of the World and Other Business runs until August 8 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Find out more at 9th-hour.ca.