God and Death: The Back Porch Players Tackle the Big Questions

The topics for Woody Allen's plays God and Death might seem a bit heavy, but Nicholas Collins, director for the two one-acts currently being produced by The Back Porch Players, says both plays are filled with humor. "In these dark and brooding dramas...we get some real gut-buster laughs," says Collins.

Back Porch Players' Artistic Director Dan Gordon says, "We try to do socially meaningful, probing plays. We're also very attracted to comedy. If we can do both of those things in the same play, that's a success for us. I read these plays and fell in love with them. They leave you on the floor laughing."

In God, two actors in ancient Greece -- Hepatitis and Diabetes -- can't seem to find an ending to their play. The pair, along with some famous characters such as Groucho Marx and Blanche DuBois, come to realize their lives are a play within a play, prompting God to come in and settle things.

Gordon says, "In God, we go from Greek times to modern times and back, and we realize that human nature has not changed all that much. In Death, this guy is told to go on a mission, but nobody tells him what his mission is. Which is very parallel to life, what is he supposed to do? What's his purpose?"

Collins adds, "You have these themes: Do we exist, or are we just actors in a larger play? Is our fate already written? Who writes the script of life? We're not going to answer the meaning of life in an hour. We're, in the way Monty Python does, taking a tiny bit and blowing it up so that we can discuss those larger themes.

8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Through August 18. Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston Street. For information, call 800-494-8497 or visit www.thebackporchplayers.com. $25 to $30.

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