CHESTER — Chester Theatre Company and Israeli Stage are presenting the regional premiere of "Oh God" by Anat Gov, beginning Wednesday at Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road.
The dark comedy is scheduled to run through July 24 with performances Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings at 8 and Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoons at 2.
"Oh God" centers around a therapy session between a very depressed God and Ella, a therapist and single mother with doubts about her own faith. God gives Ella a challenge: Cure him of his terrible depression in one session or he will put an end to his greatest and most disappointing creation — humankind. The production recently completed a sold-out run in Boston
Israeli Stage producing artistic director Guy Ben-Aharon is directing. Maureen Keillor is playing Ella; Will Lyman is playing G.
Born in Israel, Ben-Aharon is the founder of Israeli Stage, for which he directed the North American premiere of "Ulysses on Bottles" (April 2015).
Playwright Anat Gov was born in Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee in 1953. "Oh God" has been produced in Italy, Germany, Poland, Russia, and Argentina, where it ran for two years. Other plays include "Best Friends," "Lysistrata," "Househusband," "A Warm Family" and "Happy Ending," an unlikely comedy about a woman with cancer who chooses not to have chemotherapy. Sadly, the play was autobiographical. Gov died in 2012 after a long battle with cancer.
A well-known performer in Boston, Keiller appeared in "The Snow Queen" at New Repertory Theatre; the David Cromer production of "Come Back, Little Sheba" at Huntington Theatre Company; "Into the Woods," "33 Variations," "Big River," "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" and "Speech & Debate," all at the Lyric Stage of Boston. She also has appeared at SpeakEasy Stage in Boston nand TheaterWorks in Hartford, Conn.
She is a two-time IRNE recipient for her work in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" at Lyric West, and "The Women" at SpeakEasy Stage.
Lyman is well known to Boston audiences for his work with Commonwealth Shakespeare, The Huntington Theatre, New Rep, SpeakEasy, Wheelock, Boston Playwrights, and The Nora-work for which he has won both Norton and IRNE awards. His regional theater credits outside Boston include Denver Center Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Pennsylvania Stage, New York's American Place Theatre, George Street Playhouse, the N.J. Shakespeare Festival, and the Edinburg Fringe. A sought-after narrator, Lyman has worked with the National Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Symphony, and the Handel and Haydn Society. He is the announcer for Frontline on PBS, and his distinctive voice can be heard in the "Most Interesting Man in the World" TV commercials for Dos Equis beer.
CTC will present Talkbacks with theater artists following the matinees on July 14 and 21, and the Saturday evening shows on July 16 and 23. There also will be cast conversations following the Friday matinees July 15 and 22.
Immediately following this Sunday's performance, there will be a panel discussion featuring Rabbi Neil P.G. Hirsch of Hevreh of Southern Berkshire and the Reverend Nancy Webb Stroud, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement in Westfield, moderated by CTC producing artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer.
Complete information is available at (413) 354-7770, or online at chestertheatre.org.