WHAT would you do if the world seems to turn around from you? Give up on life perhaps? But for Joe Benjamin (Miguel Faustman), there’s no giving up.

Repertory Philippines opened its 64th Theater Season with Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite, a comic adaptation of the biblical story of Job.

When almost everyone complains of problems here and there, the play shows how a man, plagued by all unimaginable miseries in life, still manages to have faith in God.

The story is set at the Benjamin Mansion in Long Island, New York. An elevated balcony leads to the French door entrance while a fireplace at the left corner complements the homey white sofa and antique elegant wooden chairs at the center of the living room.

One night, a burglar, Sidney Lipton (Jeremy Domingo), who claims to be a messenger of God, breaks into the Benjamin Mansion. He announces that Joe is God’s favorite and that God places a bet on him with the devil¾that whatever happens, he will not renounce his faith.

When Sidney leaves, the first test of Satan happens to Joe: his factory of cardboard boxes turns to ashes.

The event doesn’t dishearten Joe. He refuses to renounce his faith amid his family’s worsening situation.

In Act Two, worse comes to worst as Joe’s mansion burns too, leaving his family with only a block of wood that used to be the sofa.

After the tragedy, Joe’s entire body becomes swollen, also a part of the test, that a gentle touch hurts him so much.

Joe’s faith is further tested as his family gives up on him and leaves. He later gets angry with God, but his faith endures.

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The chemistry of the characters complemented their punch lines and comic actions. The flirtatious Sarah (Myrene Hernandez) with her “burglar’s-slimy-hand-all-over-my-body” imagined complaints blended with Joe’s strict unfailing “please-button-your-robe” warning. Sidney was also commendable for his effortless philosophizing.

However, background characters such as the servants Mady (Liesl Batucan) and Morris (Lorenz Martinez) were only helpful in stressing the loyalty to Joe. Their Russian English sounded awkward.

The Repertory trademark of simple yet well-conceptualized effects was evident in the play. The realistic thunder and lightning effects were finely orchestrated while the remains of the mansion was creatively employed.

God’s Favorite brings its audience to a careful examination of faith.


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