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Cheap Shot

It’s not often I shout at the universe, “I want my 2 hours back!” but screaming it I was. Two interminable hours of Bright New Boise at the Rogue Machine Theatre to be precise. It’s not that the Rogue doesn’t produce competent work, because they do. It’s that the play has a repugnant and meanspirited heart that no one seems to notice that truly disturbs me.

Fresh off an Obie win, the play caters to the smug condescension of New York pseudointellectuals and their revulsion toward red state America and religious fundamentalists. As anyone can tell you, I’m no fan of organized religion of any sort but I believe in respecting individuals however deluded I might feel they are (as a result I have friends all along the political and social spectrum). And I recognize spirituality as an evolutionary but separate function from religion. This play, however, has nothing but contempt for all but its author’s obvious identification character. No research apparently was involved except for the real world corporation that inexplicably tolerates the increasingly erratic conduct of its employees. No reason is given for the protagonist’s behavior and no explanation or even description provided of his beliefs outside of his “Left Behind” fan fic which reveals no understanding of Rapture fantasies. It’s just one unmotivated, inherently unbelievable scene after another that renders the actors’ attempt to emote increasingly buffoonish.

The purpose (dare I say religion) of Boise seems to be to make liberals comfortable in their prejudices by ridiculing small towns and the people who live in them. At a time when there is such division in a nation along class and culture lines, spreading contempt and ridicule is not my idea of a valid artistic purpose. For me, art exists to help us understand and empathize with each other, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. This play does the opposite which perhaps explains its trendiness.

Synchronicity abides and so this complementary article appeared right on time: http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/toxic_atheism_drives_people_apart/

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
senryu
Oct. 24th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
The women characters also only exist to provide humor in contrast to an otherwise plodding overearnestness; they are utterly superfluous to the narrative. But I suppose it doesn't matter when everyone's a strawman.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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