On December 17th, Debi and I (along with two friends) went to the American Stage Theatre Company’s presentation of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant. As someone who studies religion for his job, is fascinated by religion, and lives near Clearwater, FL, one of the centers of Scientology, I had high hopes. Those hopes probably worked against this production. Maybe it was the specific Company, maybe it was the content, but I was disappointed. The show isn’t really clear in what it is trying to say, though it hits on some of Scientology’s more obscure teachings (e.g., Thetans and e-meters). The focus is on L. Ron Hubbard, but it almost seems sympathetic to him at times, especially considering how odd he really was. And since the show is supposed to be satirical, it seemed to me like it could have been much more so without being offensive, increasing laughs in the process. Instead, the humor is mild and rare; the satire is light; and the singing was so-so. I wasn’t impressed and neither were those who went with me. Thanks to Groupon, we went for half price, which is good as I would have felt really bad had I paid full price for this production.
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