A Random Act of Creation

category: full length
genre: comedy
running time: one hour and thirty minutes
setting: Heaven
period: post-Apocalypse


Dylan, an atheist
Jesus, his best friend, formerly called “Antony”
Lilith, his ex-girlfriend, formerly called “Amelia”
Gabriel, her current lover, an archangel
Flora, a girl with deeply held beliefs
Arthur, her boyfriend
Thor, the Norse god of storms
Hebe, his girlfriend, the Greek goddess of youth
Brhide, insane, the Celtic goddess of spring
Clotho, the first face of Fate
Lachesis, the second face of Fate
Atropos, the final face of Fate


The morning after the world ends, Dylan wakes up to discover himself on an empty, bright meadow where nothing is growing but a single, solitary sunflower that introduces herself as Flora. Also present is his best friend from high school, Antony, who is dressed as the popular conception of Jesus. Antony explains that he really is Jesus, and has been so all the time, and that he was on earth “observing” the planet during its final years and that others were doing the same, including his earthly girlfriend, Amelia, who next shows up as Lilith, the female embodiment of Satan. Jesus and Lilith are still in love but she’s currently embroiled in an affair with the archangel Gabriel and the drama deepens when Thor and Hebe, a tempestuous couple of gods, arrive to confront Jesus over the end of the world- for which they blame him. The three Fates appear and intervene, taking full responsibility for the cataclysm and encouraging the lesser deities to “make a new start” if they don’t like it all the way it has been. Their news is received with mixed responses. Meanwhile, Flora evolves from a sunflower into a girl and she and Dylan fall in love, only to part once Flora’s earthly boyfriend, Arthur, appears and reveals that her last human act was to murder him. Dylan and Jesus have a philosophical showdown before the Fates arrive to issue an edict that a new world will begin but with all involved on equal footing. The gods accept, Jesus and Lilith re-unite romantically, and everyone disperses to explore the new era. Dylan and Flora tentatively place their faith in each other and join the rest.

author’s comments:

This show is the shortest of my full-lengths, the easiest to stage, and one of the heaviest pieces I’ve ever written plot wise- all quite interesting when you find out that I intended it as a joke at first and then progressively as an “existential meditation”. It is still basically both, but with an intermission and some fairly convoluted debates between religious and social icons that are impressively fleshed out considering my age at the time I wrote this- a very precocious and well-read eighteen. I was, of course, working as hard as possible to be as profound and witty as I knew how to be, falling back on my old stand-bys of mythology and (ironically) heretical atheism bred as it only can be in a liberal-arts college bound boy looking to crap on his southern Arizona upbringing. But as is often the case with art, the play progressively evolved into a more personal human drama and less of an attack on religion, with the relationships between Flora and Dylan and Dylan and Jesus and Jesus and Lilith becoming the center of the story. Friendship and love are both granted divine status in the play, so while a large part of it may be pre-occupied with the ripping down of religion, it does so only with the intention of erecting a new one in its place, albeit one ostensibly based in human interaction. This is really apparent in the central romance, the love triangle between Flora, Dylan and Arthur. In the final scenes, with Flora and Dylan’s re-union, you can totally read the play as a tale of an atheist being won over by a woman who, in order to be loved, requires an act of faith on the part of any man who would be with her. Flora is really another version of Beatrice, and since I wrote this piece in the wake of The Escapist, and out of the same vague desire to shock the sensibilities of my more conservative high school friends, it’s not too surprising. What I like about Flora is that unlike my previous sympathetic murderess there isn’t much about her that is “tough”; she is, if anything, a quintessential ingénue, pretty and sweet and imaginative, but not terribly self-reliant and her one act of insubordination is so extreme and ugly you can’t imagine she feels good about it or would commit another one. But, like everyone we love, she’s a total wild-card, and like faith (and it’s no accident that she starts as a sunflower and turns into a girl, thus linking her with the pagan gods of old), love is not so much a rational choice between her and Dylan, but something they enter because it possesses them, because it allows them to step outside themselves, and because it can work, to some degree, magic. Even the more mature relationship of Jesus and Lilith is of the same variety- for they return to a time when they were gods on Earth, instead of abstractions bickering in Heaven, and it’s by accepting their love for each other that they can extend it to others- Gabriel and their future children. Hebe and Thor are also transformed by love at the end, while only the Fates, who are beyond love, Brhide, who is insane, and Arthur, who is incapable of it, have stayed the same. The point in Random Act of Creation is that there really isn’t one- but love and friendship make it all worth while, and that’s something we should look for here, not in some fabled paradise. And yes, that is a bit schmaltzy and I have definitely pulled off better, similar themes since, but those plays don’t have an angel in dominatrix gear and this play does. Something potential production companies should really keep in mind.

Nick Sheldon, Steve Cruz, Abby Midgette, and Jay Middleton in the Quicksilver Production.
Nick Sheldon, Steve Cruz, Abby Midgette, and Jay Middleton in the Quicksilver Production.


Quicksilver Productions, Inc., July 25, 26 & 27, August 1, 2 & 3, 2002, at the Cabaret Theater at the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson, Arizona. Directed and Designed by Robin Bousel; Costumes by Juli Golder & Robin Bousel; Scenery by Abigail Midgette; Lighting by Joshua Galyen; Stage Managed by Lisa Alop. Cast: Nicholas Sheldon (Dylan), Taren Carter Hines (Flora), Steven Cruz (Jesus), Abigail Midgette (Lilith), Joshua Galyen (Arthur), William Leschber (Thor), Robin Bousel (Hebe), Jay Middleton (Gabriel), Jessica Hudson (Brhide), Johanna Hudson (Clotho), Heather Van Houten (Lachesis), Taren Carter Hines (Atropos)

Jay Middleton, Abby Midgette, and Steve Cruz in the Quicksilver Production.
Jay Middleton, Abby Midgette, and Steve Cruz in the Quicksilver Production.

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