Saturday, July 22, 2006

Taking the Jesus Pill

So I went to see this play the other night. It was this really interesting experiment. There was a band onstage and the singer led us through like a narrator (the play was generated from a conceptual album he wrote). There was a regular play going on with a plot centered around young lovers (the boy had my favorite name ever, Johnny 3:16) who are hated by truly fucked-up evangelist parents. There's preaching and sin and a scripture face-off and snake handling (one of the funniest visual gags ever) and incest and immolation and death. Every now & then the play melts into film projected on scrims, and you see the action there (stuff that can't be on the stage, like driving or the ocean). All capped by burlesque dancers performing at regular intervals.

I found it to be first and foremost a fascinating example of experimental theater. The actors threw themselves into their roles and the music and singer were very good. We had looked at the original synopsis and it was full of evil people with no redemption, which worried us going in. It turned out to have been quite changed since then, and Johnny especially was an admirable character. The main woman, Tina, was what you'd expect of an incest victim: alternately terrified and over-sexual. She was amazing. The preacher father was pure evil - and as long as you listened carefully, you could tell he wasn't representing anything close to Christianity, so it didn't have to be offensive. Johnny was much closer to the truth (although he went off into "God is in all of us and that wall and this bar" talk at one point) and bore out the truth with love. So he was the more Christian character, and was in a positive light. When they stood up on the bar (the show was in a Hollywood club and they used every square inch of it) and quoted verses at each other, I think I had a more meaningful listening than most of the people since I knew more about where the verses come from. The playwright obviously knows the bible, he just is uncomfortable with it.

My biggest disappointment was the audience, because they cheered at such lines as "I don't need God because I have me." Of course, what do you expect from LA? And the person who said that didn't come to a very happy end.

Check out the website because it's a really interesting concept. I'm pretty happy for just about anything Jesus-related to be out there. And it was definitely less offensive than some of this stuff. If you live in LA, you might want to check it out. Let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...


i now the drummer of that show, dave raven. his wife is pastor at tribe la -

Anonymous said...

Dear Feminary: I just want to say thank you, thank you first for coming out and being adventerous, and second, for seeing and embraceing the real message in this peice, which is of course that God is in all of us that seek to find the truth. I appreciate so much your taking the time to give us a chance...


Anonymous said...

WOW! Sorry for the spelling, I got excited. : )

Stasi said...

Wow, this is the exec producer you guys. I'm blushing! How do these people find me?

Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with people cheering at the "I don't need God" line. In fact, it's good for people to question things, rather than taking brainwashing as fact. I believe that's another message of the show, which I just saw and enjoyed.