God vs. Satan: It’s all in the family in this North Fork play

04/21/2016 2:00 PM |

Bill Kitzerow as Satan and Sarah M. Storjohann as his wife, Mother Nature, in "Supreme Beings." (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Mother Nature wants to quit her job. Mrs. God is mad at Mr. God for not helping around the house. And he’s got problems with his untrustworthy brother-in-law, Satan.

Those are just some of the family issues tackled in “The Supreme Beings,” a new comedy being produced by Northeast Stage at Holy Trinity Church in Greenport.

Written by Michael Horn of Riverhead, who takes on the lead role, the play emerged from his love of improvisation and a sketch he created 20 years ago.

“It’s taking some of the issues and problems that we all face as humans and putting them on the divine,” he explained. “Something as simple as making a bed becomes an issue.”

When Mr. Horn isn’t writing, he works as an inventory control clerk for the Long Island Cauliflower Association in Riverhead. He cites comedy legends like Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks as inspirations, especially their classic skit “The 2000 Year Old Man.”

“That’s what started it,” said Mr. Horn. “The 2000 Year Old Man answers all those questions; Mr. and Mrs. God is almost the same thing.”

The three-act play took shape when Mr. Horn was a member of an improv group called Nimble Minds and created a skit about Mr. and Mrs. God.

“We answered questions off the cuff from the audience,” he said. “Everything from ‘How did the two of you meet?’ to ‘What happened to Noah and the rain?’ ”

As the concept grew, Mr. Horn expanded the skit, sometimes during improv performances and sometimes writing lines for fellow troupe members.

“I wrote the questions as a talk show and performers asked the questions,” he said. “In one vignette they asked what happened to socks in the laundry as I pulled a sock from my shirt. Then a guy in the audience, who was one of our plants, said, ‘I was wondering what happened to that!’ ”

Each time Mr. Horn performed the skit, he was not only creating new material, but honing his writing skills and developing the characters.

“I realized people wanted to know about these characters and seemed to enjoy them,” he said. “You know the expression, write what you know? Well, I’ve been married for 30 years, so it seemed natural to write about that relationship.”

But writing a two-character play proved difficult. Who would be the adversary?

“That’s when Satan came up,” he said. “We started playing with that, but why would Satan come back?”

Michael Horn as God, Susan Hedges as Mrs. God, Bill Kitzerow as Satan and Sarah M. Storjohann as Mother Nature in "The Supreme Beings." (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Michael Horn as God, Susan Hedges as Mrs. God, Bill Kitzerow as Satan and Sarah M. Storjohann as Mother Nature in “The Supreme Beings.” (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

That’s when Mr. Horn came up with his four characters. In addition to the heavenly couple, Mrs. God, who also has her husband’s powers, has created a sister, Mother Nature, who is married to Satan.

“Everyone wants to play the bad boy,” said Bill Kitzerow, who plays Satan. “It’s a lot of fun; you have to not be afraid to go outside your comfort zone. I’m used to being nice to people, but I get to be a jerk to people.”

Mr. Kitzerow, of Southold, is a real estate agent with Douglas Elliman. He plays Satan as a businessman, wearing a suit, which some may find apropos.

“The whole idea is to make people laugh,” he said. “Satan’s a funny guy in this.”

“Many people say Mother Nature is a fickle b—-,” Sarah Storjohann said of her role in the play. “But she is just trying to do her job.”

Ms. Storjohann, a chiropractic assistant and interfaith minister from Mattituck, is clearly relishing her part as the overworked Mother Nature, wearing a delicate wreath of flowers on her head as she wreaks havoc on the world.

“I’m just trying to keep everything in check between global warming and floods and fires and earthquakes and people and what they are doing,” she said. “It’s a delicate balance and sometimes I miss.”

As for Mr. and Mrs. God, actress Susan Hedges of Mattituck, who plays the latter, has her own take on their relationship.

“It’s kind of a Ralph and Alice Kramden kind of thing,” she said. “They have that kind of relationship. She holds her own, but she loves him and she’s an equal.”

Ms. Hedges, who used to work in medical billing, is pursuing acting full time now and most recently played Martha in the North Fork Community Theatre production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“This is a great cast to work with and I think that will resonate with the audience,” Ms. Hedges said. “We just have such a great time together and it’s a great show, too.”

In the meantime, Mr. Horn is coping with the excitement and fear of seeing his play finally reach the stage.

“It’s almost like your baby,” he said. “You’ve got to let your child go, you’ve got to let them fall, you’ve got to let them make mistakes. Most actors are insecure; it’s the same with writing. My biggest thrill is to hit that one line that affects somebody, whether it’s laughter or tears. On this one, there’s more laughter than tears.”

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See the show

“The Supreme Beings” will be performed at Holy Trinity Church, 786 Main St., Greenport, at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, April 22, 23, 29 and 30, and at 5 p.m. Sundays, April 24 and May 1.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Visit northeaststage.com or call 631-477-2972.

Top photo: Bill Kitzerow as Satan and Sarah M. Storjohann as his wife, Mother Nature, in “Supreme Beings.” (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

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