Kenneth Daugherty stands on the 7th Street end of Gallery Place, his white suit immaculate, hands behind his back, his long, thin, brown face bearded, overseeing the bustle of people. He is God.
At least, he will be God. As soon as the leotard-and-jean-clad actors and actresses, ranging from high-school age to late 20s, separate from the onlookers and the crew and set up some semblance of cast versus audience (although it nevery really comes to that much of a demarcation). The Everyman Street Theater is underway.
Their musical revue, which is the same one they did last year for the summer season, is a sophisticated, funny "adaptation of Genesis chapters 1-5."
In the show, Daugherty sways back and forth, his voice searing the air, first as the minister of the "New World Solid Rock Baptist Church" and then as God in the story of how Adam and Eve came to be.
A crowd of well over 100, munches lunch, rests babies in strollers, or just looks on for the noontime performance of "Singin' and Shoutin'."
When God tells Adam and Eve to "have the run of the place" but stay away from one tree, a group of seven company members in shinny green vests, and bowler hats, with apples in outstretched arms, go through a delightfully seductive, upbeat dance number to entice Adam and Eve. And, of course, when they are successful, God thunders down at the guilty couple, "Eve, I've got a punishment for you . . . I'm going to create labor pains and male chauvinism . . . and for your punishment, Adam, I'm going to create jobs . . . "
Both writhe and scream in pain. A narrator continues with the story: "Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, but, you know, bad luck seemed to follow this family all down the line . . . "
Last Monday, the theater began their 10th summer of two weeks of performances at locations throughout the District.Yesterday, at noon, the theater set up in Gallery Place, playing in a sunny, wide concrete plaza toward 9th Street. At the end, on Sept. 2 they will appear in New York City's Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival.
"We do a complete theatrical musical -- on the street," said Daugherty, who is also the assistant director and, during the year, head of the Black Theater Troupe in Phoenix, Ariz.
"Adam" mopped his sweaty chest with a towel. Cisco Drayton, 21, who plays him, said of the theater company's director and choreographer, "Working with Michael Malone has inspired me. There aren't many male teachers. It still isn't really accepted to be a male dancer. But Mike's inspired me to do it."
Drayton is studying dance at State University of New York at Purchase and with Jacques D'Amboise at the New York City Ballet. This summer, he has four jobs -- acting with the theater, selling clothes at Up Against the Wall in Georgetown and at a Capezio outlet in Arlington, and taking classes and teaching at the LaVerne Reed Dance School.
For the theater job, from which he expects to earn $500 to $700, he has so far received a check for $108. That came yesterday, after a month of work.
The 40-member cast plus another 30 staff members are mostly currently students or recent graduates of the Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts. Terry Sands, a 19-year-old student at the College of Performing Arts in Philadelphis, is a 1978 graduate of Ellington, and she dances the role of Eve.
But Karen Collins, a soloist in the show with an excellent voice, is 26, married and sings around town in different churches, mainly the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church.
All of them have gotten their pay late, according to Malone, who said he himself has only received a $500 check for his work so far. "All the kids are getting paid from the Mayor's Summer Youth Program," said Malone. "There's been a great deal of confusion with that program."