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Communique: Mark Twain's "Diary Of Adam & Eve" Onstage At Cape Fear Playhouse | July 5-22

Keepin' On Productions
Susan Auten, Brendan Carter, and all the animals

There's not much humor in the Biblical tale of Adam and Eve, but that changed when Mark Twain decided to pen their diaries, Anthony Lawson decided to adapt it for stage, and Steve Vernon decided to direct it for Keepin' On Productions. The show runs through July 22 at the Cape Fear Playhouse.

The play is not a superficial comedy. Being expelled from Eden and bringing death to every living thing has its sobering effects. And again-this is adapted from Twain, so every laugh has the aftertaste of profundity. This story also inspires earnest tears.

The set is designed by Scott Davis in the style of a pop-up book. This gives a fun, innocent feel for the "paradise" part of the show. Pop-up scenery can be easily manipulated as required- and ultimately removed when Adam and Eve are ejected from Eden. 

Susan Auten and Brendan Carter play the first couple under the direction of Steve Vernon. Listen to our conversation above and see the transcript below. 

The Diary of Adam & Eve is onstage at Cape Fear Playhouse on Castle Street through July 22. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00pm + Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are available online, by telephone at 910-367-5237 (leave a message, they'll call you back), and at the door. 

Gina Gambony:      This is a comedy? No-this is a drama.

Susan Auten:    No ...It's a dramatic comedy. How about that? Is that a good? Is that a good ... ?

Brendan Carter: A Dramady?

Susan:    A comma-drama?

Brendan: It's, it's a showcase of life and life has comedic moments and dramatic moments. If you're gonna live day to day, you're going to run through all those things. And they definitely do.

Gina:      Keepin' On Productions presents the Diary of Adam and Eve. Susan Auten plays Eve.

Credit Lester Ralph
This illustration by Lester Ralph from Mark Twain's publication caused a lot of controversy back in the day.

Susan:    (As Eve) I feel like an experiment. I feel exactly like an experiment. It would be impossible for one to feel more like an experiment than I do and so I'm coming to feel convinced that that is what I am. An experiment.

Gina:      Brendan Carter Plays Adam. He's not delighted about Eve's arrival in Eden.

Brendan: (As Adam) This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about.

Gina:      This play is Anthony Lawson's adaptation of Mark Twain's diaries of the first couple of the Old Testament. Director Steve Vernon appreciates the depth within mark Twain's humor.

Steve Vernon:     He's known as a humorist, but he's able to pack so much emotion within the humor. You know, he's not just a joke teller, I mean he really paints these very lovely visual images with his writing. And there's so much stuff in their event that makes you chuckle or even laugh out loud. But almost parenthetically, there's so much in there within the jokes themselves, it makes you appreciate the, the more emotional aspects of his writing.

Gina:      Tell me about the Eve that you play.

Susan:    She's fun. In the first act, it's all wonder and excitement and energy and love and um, it's very innocent. And then obviously in the second act, which is after the fall, she's a little older and wiser. The second act really takes them through having children and growing old together. What if you took the story of relationships and how people meet and fall in love and grow and go through life together and set it as in the garden of Eden as the very first man and woman ever.

Gina:      And tell me about your Adam.

Brendan: He's really kind of like a first child in that he's had all of this to himself for a whole day I guess. And then, and then suddenly there's this new person that he has to share all of his toys with and he's not happy. He's very jealous at first. He just wants to be alone and she's not having any of that. So he has to learn to share and love. I remember seeing it five or six years ago and there were certain emotions that I felt while watching it and then reading it now, now that I am married and have children, it's a completely different show and different things are being, are being touched on in my mind and in my heart.

Steve:     I'll tell you what surprises me the most about the show, Gina, is how the actors are constantly finding more and more nuance. You know, it's written in diary form, but they're finding so many incredible moments … like within sentences in so many emotional shifts. It's really fascinating to watch. And I love the whole storyline of ... it's basically almost any relationship between two people who love each other. That that moment of discovery, that moment of, “well, that person kind of annoys me,” all the way through forming an incredibly strong bond and ultimately what happened is when one person has of the other at the end.