In Fresno Pacific’s ‘The Adam Bomb,’ an original musical explores original sin
Outside of the Rogue Festival, it’s quite uncommon for an original one-man musical to perform, much less premiere, in Fresno. But thanks to Fresno Pacific University theater professor Mark Tyler Miller, you’ll get the chance this weekend to experience such a singular event. Here are 5 Things to Know about Miller’s play “The Adam Bomb,” which plays through Sunday, April 28:
1. It’s about Adam and Eve. And Tim.
“The Adam Bomb” is a modern-day setting of Adam and Eve, post Garden of Eden.
Miller plays three characters in the show, including the hitherto unknown “Tim,” a character you definitely won’t find in the King James version. (Something tells me, Dorothy, that we aren’t in the traditional Bible story anymore.)
“All I can say is that Tim is Eve’s new boyfriend … with a tribal bicep tattoo, and a Bluetooth receiver in his ear at all times … just to give you an idea of his type.”
In the play, Cain has already offed Abel. Now Adam and Eve are trying to deal with the death of their child. The play takes audiences through a process of grief, separation, sin, truth, consequence and renewal.
2. There are no robes or sandals.
The characters talk and dress like anyone you’d see on the street today. There are no “Bible costumes.”
Miller wanted a modern vibe so he could focus on the characters’ relatability.
“I think sometimes when we think of biblical characters, there’s a sheen we put over them as if they didn’t really exist or as if they are different than us somehow,” he says. “But when we look at the actual circumstances these people went through, it’s right out of the news—eviction from a place that was their home, their son murdered by their other son—these are incredibly painful, incredibly real experiences, so I wanted to explore what that would be like if it happened today, which is why the show takes place in modern times.”
The show’s musical accompaniment is acoustical guitar. (Which, of course, hadn’t been invented in Eden times, either.)
3. Adam (and Eve and Tim) has lots of stage experience.
Miller has an MFA in theater, and he’s also worked across the country in musicals. His extensive resume includes such roles as Claude in “HAIR” at Seattle’s ArtsWest Playhouse, Warner in Seattle Musical Theater’s “Legally Blonde,” Lee Harvey Oswald/Balladeer in “Assassins” at Illinois Theater, and Capulet in the world premiere of “I Heart Juliet” at Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Related story: As ‘Falling’ opens at Fresno Pacific, new theater program director looks to the future
4. You never know when inspiration will hit.
“Right after moving to Fresno last summer, I was sitting around in my apartment and didn’t have too much to do before school started,” Miller says. “So, because I love solo performance and also musical theater, I decide to blend the two! Honestly, the story just appeared on paper. I don’t really understand how, but I feel it was divinely inspired. I’ve thought about Adam a lot in my life. The story of Adam and Eve is incredibly powerful and I find them both to be extremely relatable, fallen people, just like I am.”
The show is directed by Emily Wold and designed by Shannon Brewington.
5. The show is fun, and it’s also a thinker.
I ask Miller if he thinks Adam and Eve had true free will, and if they hadn’t screwed up, would we all be living in paradise?
“The play definitely gets into questioning why they’ve landed in this predicament,” he says. “Adam asks at the end of the play where God is, and why people die, and why none of it makes sense. I believe they had free will, which is why this whole thing went down. Now we watch these people as they deal with the result of their free will.”
‘The Adam Bomb,’ 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28; North Hall 123 (Seminary Chapel) on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave. Tickets are $5-8.