, Port Arthur, Texas


October 11, 2012

Act 1 Scene 1 play is everyday view from Garden of Eden

GROVES — When Ann and John Holland signed up to play the eternal couple in “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” they probably did not think they would be so well-suited for the parts.

Those are bigs shoes (or fig leaves) to fill. But as the rehearsals went on and the scripts were learned, Ann and the rest of the crew began to realize how much the female lead could relate to her role as Eve and how easily John, 53, filled the part of her husband because, well, he is.

“We have learned things about each other and ourselves through this process,” Ann, 51, said.

For the first time, John and Ann Holland will fulfill the primary roles together in a play in the Act 1 Scene 1 Theatre Company’s rendition of Mark Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve.” Twain wrote the diaries of the husband and wife separately almost fifteen years apart, and David Birney edited and adapted them for the stage.

The Hollands, who live in Port Arthur, have been married for 26 years. There is probably not much they do not know about each other, but the experience of playing a projection of themselves in this play opened themselves up to one another in a new way.

John, an engineer at Motiva, said he learned that he does not know exactly how he learns, especially when attempting to memorize Twain’s run-on sentences. Meanwhile, Ann said she realized how she handles her emotions through her character. One night, the director looked at them and simply said, “You two really are a pair.”

“Mark Twain essentially wrote these two separate diaries about himself and his wife,” said Phillip Gray, director of the play. “It comes through obviously through the relationship he portrays.”

For Ann and John, it was almost natural. The greatest challenge for them was memorizing lengthy lines written in the language of a different century and reciting those lines with hardly any cues from one another. After all, they are the only two actors in the play.

“Every woman who sees the show will identify with Eve, and every man who sees the show will identify with Adam,” Ann said. “He so accurately portrayed the way men and women are and the way they interact with each other.”

For Gray, 52, the entire production of the play was a challenge, but that was what attracted him to directing it in the first place. The story is told from these two characters as they navigate their way through life inside and out of the Garden of Eden. Plus, it’s funny.

“It’s realistic Twain’s special way,” Gray said. “It’s real moments that happen between a husband and a wife, a male and a female.”

Ann, who selected the play, stumbled across a copy of “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” at one of her son’s auditions and fell in love with it.

“It was just lying there, so I picked it up and read it,” Ann said. “I could so easily identify with Eve on so many levels.”

Both women are mothers. Both are curious and share a love of learning, which Ann said she has always had. Eve talks about her love of animals throughout the play, and Ann is a veterinarian.

“I immediately identified with that,” she said.

The play will run Oct. 12-14, 18, 20 and 21 at the First Christian Church located at 5856 9th Ave. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday shows start at 2:30 p.m. Prices are $15 for adults and $13 for students 13 years old and under. Seats are limited, so reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (409) 790-6782.

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