Out & About

February 6, 2014

Centaur Theatre presents 'The Book of Bob'

Stage work offers contemporary take on Bible's Book of Job

MONTREAL — Lucinda Davis gets to play God. In fact, it’s her second time.

The Centaur Theatre presents a contemporary retelling of the Book of Job with “The Book of Bob,” a world premiere by Arthur Holden about a professor dealing with an overburdened work life.

“I have played God before,” Davis said, an accomplishment not too many actors can lay claim to. “I was actually a replacement God.”

Davis first played the role in a fringe-esque work titled “Jesus Jell-O: The Miraculous Confection.”

“The Book of Bob” indeed tells the story of Bob, played by Ron Lea, a do-gooder university professor who tries his best to teach Dostoyevsky to uninterested 20-year-olds and struggles to deal with an ailing father. Bob doesn’t even own a cellphone or a car “on matter of principle.”

“Bob’s a good guy with a good job, a good family and a good life,” Davis said. “And he doesn’t believe in God. So the play looks at how Bob responds when hardship and misfortune comes his way.”

Enter God, who has a few of his, er, her own tests for the professor, beginning with a student’s cellphone, which goes off in class.

“That’s the first trial,” Davis said. “He asks very politely for the student to turn off the phone. She does not.”

In addition to God, Davis plays all of the characters with whom Bob interacts — including the student. She plays 10 characters in all, including Bob’s department head, wife, son’s girlfriend, father and even Satan.

“Which is definitely a challenge,” Davis said. “I want to make each character unique without making them a caricature. I want to play them honestly but differently.”

Davis employs a variety of mannerisms and voices to accomplish the task. In addition to multiple characters, director Ellen David has created a multimedia video that hints as to where Bob is at any given moment.

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