Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book of Mormon

        Can you enjoy a play but not like it? Can you learn from something you find repulsive?
         I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend and see The Book of Mormon. I went with my eyes open. I knew this was going to be very tongue in cheek the point of gagging.
         I knew I would be offended by the language, and I was. This is comedic cursing, using four-letter words not because they are appropriate to the context but because they aren't, and therefore it's funny. It's written by the same team that created the uber offensive animated series, South Park.
         Although the play lampoons organized religion, especially the Church of Latter Day Saints, it's actually more insulting to African cultures because the most offensive behavior is reserved for  the villagers who are being visited by LDS missionaries.
         But even in this context, I found little nuggets of truth in the story--the way Christians sometimes act like people ought to be able to ignore biological urges that go against the teaching of the church,  the way the message of salvation can sometimes seem irrelevant to current problems, and the way some Christian tales seem as conveniently  fictional as "Star Wars."
         I don't turn to musicals for religious teaching, but I believe all creativity emanates from a central fount of truth and inspiration. I think these creators were making fun of musicals as much as anything, and yet the songs are snappy and fun, the dancing was great, and the plot, though predictable, actually works pretty well. So I suppose enjoying it means I missed the point.

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