e3 Productions at the Electric Company, 2512 SE Gladstone, 232-5955, Fri-Sat 7 pm, 9 pm $8
Mark Twain'sThe Diaries of Adam and Eve has all the elements of the great man's brilliance: well-crafted language, a wonderful balance of humor and poignancy, and intelligent insights into basic human nature. The story's premise is exactly what its title implies, and part of the humor is simply the idea of Adam and Eve keeping a diary. Adam writes of his annoyance over the fact that Eve names everything. Eve writes about Adam's inability to communicate with her. There are great moments in the story, such as Eve's insistence that the Garden of Eden is not a Garden at all, but a Park. She names the park Nigeria Falls after one of its waterfalls.
Most of these moments come across in e3's staging Diaries, thanks in large part to the performances. Geoff Bergman's Adam is oafish and bewildered as he struggles to classify everything around him, including his newborn son, Cain, who he thinks to be a fish. Katie Wallack's Eve is excited and adventurous, and portrays an earnest desire to be part of Adam's life. The actors share a chemistry that is enjoyable to watch. The play is also well directed, and makes good use of the minimal set. Its 60-minute running time flies by.
However, it feels like something is missing from the show, and that something is not the fault of the production, but a fault of the script, which is well-written, but which has an inherently difficult source for its inspiration. Twain's original work is great, but it also wasn't written as a script. It was written as a short story, and it lacks the necessary theatrical elements that would make it suitable for the stage. There is no dramatic tension in the story, and even though Adam and Eve are often times at odds with each other, there is never a real sense of friction between them. It hardly feels as though they are two people fighting for their own wants and desires. Still, it's enjoyable to hear Twain's words out loud, and e3 Productions does a good job with what it has. M.WILLIAM HELFRICH