I can now count myself as one of the thousands of people that have seen this play but now I am going to spend the next few week trying to erase it from my memory. I went along with my friend to celebrate her birthday (the first of my friends to reach 40!). I am perhaps not as broad minded as I imagined myself to be and if I am honest I found it offensive on so many levels. It’s strange but true. I know it is religious satire but for me it was just a step too far. Perhaps I am VERY easily shocked. Perhaps.
I did learn in about five minutes about the origin of this religion. I did learn about the fallible nature of human beings and the terrible things we can do to another. This is not breaking news though…
Maybe I did not watch enough South Park as a child! Who knows. It just felt like in this play no subject was off limits. I am not entirely sure why I have a problem with this – because these things happen in real life and there is no joking about it. I guess I am learning of myself that I like to watch things that do not take me out of my ‘comfort zone’ (hence why I am the girl in the bubble). I like to watch things that are safe, pleasant, fluffy. I clearly do not do – controversial, irreverent and blasphemous. Do not get me wrong – I am not a saint and I am not an angel – but I am learning that I just like to see, hear and think about “nice things” when I am not at work or reading the news. My work and the News are real life – I cannot escape from the horrors of people and their off the wall behaviours.
I am wondering what exactly has put me off. I think perhaps the first song sang by the Ugandans in the play just shocked me completely. I found it the anthesis of everything I have grown up with. I have to admit there were times when I wanted to put my fingers in my ears and shut my eyes (yes very childish I know!). Maybe that was the intended effect. I guess it just crossed the line for me. I think maybe because I just do not spend my time blaming God for all the bad things that happen in the world. People are responsible for their actions and natural disasters unfortunately happen. But maybe I was not meant to take it all so seriously and personally. I am surprised by my reaction – I am not an atheist and I am not super religious either, my faith is shaky at times but still this was a bit too much for me. I suppose the authors achieved their aim in getting the audience to take notice. I will hand it to the authors they make me think hard about the unpleasant aspects of religion, the manipulation and sometimes sheer insanity.
When I got home that evening I waxed lyrical to my sister and my lovely companion and on further discussion I think my main objection was the supposed nefarious activities of the Ugandan village people. I I think that is what I found the most highly offensive and just perhaps the most upsetting. Again – I live in the real world – I know that these terrible terrible things happen – I read these about in the news, I teach on some of these things at work (in my child protection and safeguarding children role). I just did not expect to see these things thrown at me in the West End on a Saturday night in the name of entertainment. It was just a step too far for me. Am I too much of a sensitive soul? In my head – all the way through the play – I was thinking “I cannot believe they got away with this!”, “I cannot believe that they were allow to put this on!”. Vague thoughts of District 9 passed through my head. Maybe am I too used to watching politically correct, fluffy, wishy-washy pieces of work. Maybe I have lived a too sheltered existence… Who knows.