Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012

Theatrical Censorship In Delafield

Radio Evangelist prompts shut down of THE BIBLE: THE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD (ABRIDGED)

By Russ Bickerstaff
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the radio evangelist in question

I hadn't heard of him prior to yesterday. In the past he has insinuated parallels between cannibalism and homosexuality. He's a guy with a soft-spoken voice who runs a radio show out of Milwaukee. On August 9th, he turned some attention on his radio show towards an upcoming locally-based production of the reduced Shakespeare Company's The Bible: The Complete Works of God (Abidged). Local actors Brian Faracy, Emmitt Morgans and Nate Press have been working on this production of the show. Now it appears as though they may be out of a paying gig this month.

 

The show itself is a lighthearted laugh at one of the most durable books in western history. Far from being blasphemous, the show has been enjoyed by clergy of many denominations, according to RSC. The RSC's website even quotes Sister MaryAnne Walsh of the Arlington Catholic Herald, saying “It’s wacky! It’s zany! And a little profaney.” So, essentially this radio guy is much more easily offended than mainstream Catholics.

 

The vast majority of Christians aren't this intolerant. The vast majority of Christians might actually like this show. The Bible is an incredible book--a great work of literature that is actually being celebrated by this sketch comedy show. People who love that book just might love this show. This radio guy though . . . this guy's just a little weird. He's outraged at something completely innocuous--something not altogether unlike Late Night Catechism. It's light comedy that favors people familiar with the Bible. The radio host, evidently on the strength of a single promo video on the RSC's website, has decided that the whole thing is completely blasphemous. So he gave the names of people to contact and complain to. Evidently they did.

 

The DNR had revoked use of Lapham Peak State Park. And now the Summerstage of Delafield has been forced to look for another stage with only a little over a week until opening night. They really shouldn't have to. The Bible, as I say, is a really, REALLY durable book. It's withstood a lot more than a little sketch comedy. The freedom of speech on the other hand . . . .THAT'S really tenuous and needs to be constantly defended from precisely this sort of ignorant intolerance. 

 

I first heard of this through an e-mail sent out by Next Act theatre's David Cecsarini. I tracked down the radio broadcast and listened to it online. It's a little difficult to listen to someone being this blatantly manipulative of his listeners. People are afraid so they listen to a gentle voice. that gentle voice tells them that they can do something to stop the spread of blasphemy. And they do. Because it's a harsh world out there and they want to do something about it, even if it's just a phone call to the DNR. 

 

The Facebook event notification for the production has a post from Amanda Schlicher, who states that she had spoken with "Hilary at the DNR" yesterday afternoon. She had mentioned that they are receiving letters in support of the show and that those letters ARE being considered. They will evidently be making a decision soon.  

 

Please show your support for a local production with local actors who just might be out of a bit of paying work this month. This kind of intolerance is tragically weird.  Please help support rational thought on this. 

 

According to Schlicher, interested parties should call Hilary at 608-266-2121 or email her at DNRSecretary@wisconsin.gov

 

Elsewhere on Facebook, Amy Geyser also lists these contacts as being "the people who made the decision":

 

 

Deputy Secretary – Matthew Moroney (608) 264-6266

Matt.Moroney@Wisconsin.gov

 

Secretary – Cathy Stepp (608) 266-2121

DNRSecretary@Wisconsin.gov

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