Of all the iconic roles Kim Wayans has hilariously played over the years — Grace Jones, Whitney Houston, Della Reese, Oprah Winfrey — the character the original In Living Color cast member is taking on next is the most legendary.
Wayans makes her Bucks County debut in the title role of An Act of God, opening Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Bristol Riverside Theatre and playing through Oct. 13.
The three-person (or three-being) play is the result of a lark, of sorts: Emmy-winning writer David Javerbaum created the extra-viral Twitter account, @TheTweetofGod, that ended up on Broadway.
Jim Parsons and then Sean Hayes played the role there of the omnipotent yet surprisingly shallow almighty. Wayans, whom her famous siblings — Keenen Ivory, for example — refer to as “the most talented in our family,” is more than prepared to tackle the divine role. She spoke to the Inquirer from her home in Los Angeles, while preparing for Bristol, Bucks County.
The standard way. The play’s producer and director made an offer to my agent. I read the script. I loved it. I thought it was hilarious and irreverent. I’m not going to turn down the opportunity to play the role of God.
Not last I checked.
Here’s the deal: For the most part, God has always been played by a white male. This is different in that regard. But the script didn’t strike me that it has to be a white gay man playing this role.
Tell me about it. As I sit here, trying to absorb 90 minutes of monologue, it’s quite challenging. But that’s what we actors love.
Before I was offered the role, I hadn’t seen the play. I came to it fresh. The subject matter isn’t new to me. I wrote and performed a one-woman show, A Handsome Woman Retreats. It was about a woman on a comedic spiritual journey. The topic of spirituality is of interest to me.
God’s a hot mess in this play, which is what’s so hysterical about it. The funny thing is, a lot of people’s conception of God is very human, very human-like, like a fellow human being, and that trips us up. Because if God is just as petty and insecure and narcissistic as we are, we are in trouble.
That’s one of the funny aspects — and almost the point — of this play. I love it because it makes you think.
I’m not a religious person. I’m a spiritual person. And there’s a difference. For me, I love my fellow man. I don’t do harm to others. These are the basic principles that are at the core of every religion and every spiritual tradition.
Often in life, we seem to get away from those principles.
I’m not somebody who is out in front of a camera for being out in front of the camera’s sake. I’m not at the opening of an envelope. I’m not taking pictures for social media and posting them.
All creative people, all actresses, love to work and love interesting roles that allow them to go places they might not have ordinarily gone. I’m in it for the work.
I am one of those people who thrive off high level of activity, and then nothing. High level activity, then I need my down time, my solitude. I’m not one of those people that are revved up 24/7.
Things are really opening up for women, women of color in particular, in the last few years. There’s still a lot of work to be done. But it seems to be headed in the right direction.
My advice to young black women and young women of color: Be proactive. Do not sit around and wait for Hollywood to create a story of a lifetime. If you can’t write, find somebody who can write, and meet up with them.
You can shoot a film for little to nothing these days — even on your phone. There are so many ways of getting your story out there. Don’t sit and wait for it to happen.
They’re so much fun — just really fun. I’ve got a big, wild, crazy family with so many different personalities. When we all get together, we really blow the roof off that mother.
An Act of God
Sept. 17-Oct. 13 at Bristol Riverside Theatre, 120 Radcliffe St.
Tickets: $43-$50 (students $10, military $32.25-$33.75),.