I debated over writing this review. Mostly because I like to keep things light on this blog. Also, I did not want to invite a debate over this play. Because it is not worth my time. I have all ready wasted money on it. I hate to waste time even more.
I also never want to discuss religion on this blog, because it is just not something I care to discuss.
I also choose not bring up sex on this blog for much the same reason. When my children are out of the house, I might loosen up a bit. But for now those are my rules.
And in talking about this play, I would unfortunately have to bring up both of those words.
So, I decided not to write a review.
Every time I turn on the television, there is a commercial advertising this production with words it does not, in my humble opinion, deserve.
I would feel I am not being true to myself to not put this review out there. This is simply my opinion of the play. I am quite sure based on the laughter in the theater many people would disagree with me. However, here it is. Just this once. Me breaking my rules:
In one word, I would describe The Book Of Mormon play as puzzling.
And not in a good way.
I had been wanting to see The Book Of Mormon, the musical, for years. I am not a fan of South Park, but I absolutely loved the musical Avenue Q.
I did not really know what this play was about. I just knew everyone seemed to love it. It had won multiple awards. It was heralded as funny. Probably a little raunchy. It sounded like a great date night pick.
Idiotically, I did not read any reviews. I wanted it to be a surprise.
And it was.
Just not in the way that I hoped it would be.
I naively thought the play would be about Mormon boys knocking door to door and the funny capers they would witness and be subject to at different people’s homes. That just made the most sense to me.
I was entirely wrong.
This play does not want to make sense.
It simply wants to break down censors.
I knew I was in trouble from the beginning. Everyone was laughing and whooping throughout the beautiful Pantages Theater. And I was sitting there stunned. Because, to me, it was incredibly offensive. I looked at my husband and he had the same disgusted look on his face.
It was unbelievable. I felt like I was on Candid Camera. Or as if I was in a tent where everyone had smoked the magic fungi and I had only managed to contract a fungus.
I found this play to be very degrading to a great many people. It is immature. It relies heavily on shock value. As an adult who never felt the need to make up pretend words for genitals for a dialect with my children, I could not find the humor. Add in some sentences strewn in concerning random maggots and frogs. And those were the extent of the “jokes.” If I were to describe this play, that is what I would say it is about. Sentences with genitalia shouted out streamed with a random object and the f-word.
I would say it wasn’t really about religion. Maybe a bit. A little background about me: I am not Mormon. When I first heard about Mormon boys (when I was a Junior in high school) going on a two year mission, I was incredibly excited. I thought they were going to go search out treasure. Or fight dragons. I was very disappointed when I learned what they would really be doing. Boys in white shirts are incredibly different than knights on white horses. However, as a mother, my heart is softened when I see these young men far from home. In their handsome starched button down shirts and ties. They tug at my heart strings. I might not believe in what they are doing, but I can emphasize with how homesick they must feel. And I always give them water or a snack when they come by. I do not let them in. Most of them just want to pet my dogs. They miss that little bit of home. I would want someone to treat my son the same way if he was in their shoes.
I also feel we should be respectful of everyone’s religion, no matter what we think of it. A little poke is fine. A giant shove is another thing entirely. With all of that said, I found the song with the chorus, “F*** You God!” extremely unnecessary.
And their betrayal of Africans… I just could not believe it. I could not believe they found actors willing to play the roles. They made Africans a sad caricature of a race. It was horribly degrading. The reason this play got a 2 from me out of 10, and not a 1, is simply because the female lead was incredibly talented. Her voice. Probably the best I had heard in any musical. It is a shame it was being wasted on f-bombs and frogs.
Other offenses were the jokes about raping babies and female circumscion. Maybe I took too many Ethics Classes in college (one topic that happened to be discussed over and over again was female circumcision), but I am ashamed that this play is so highly revered in America. What does that say about us?
I kept imagining I was in the middle of a split screen. On one side you have us Americans watching this play and rolling in our seats at the man pronouncing that he is going to go rape a baby to cure his AIDS. And then I imagined the other side of the screen being the mother that this actually happened to that very day. To her baby. And her watching us laughing at the play. And her grief increasing tenfold at the plight of the human race.
It made me furious.
According to statistics, in the time period that I sat and watched this play, 655 more people contracted HIV. I am sorry, but to me, that is not funny. Nor is the thought that people are so desperate to cure themselves they will resort to raping children. Even babies.
My husband and I both agree that this production should be giving back some of their proceeds to the plight in this world that they so easily and carelessly mock.
And even if the play was not offensive, the music was forgettable. The jokes were flat. The storyline dragged on and was unbearably boring.
There were children there! Children! You guys, one song had the entire African male cast each strap on a giant three foot… hose…On stage. And act out…acts. And use the f-word for the act. What the heck were those parents thinking?
However, the cast got a standing ovation. We stood… And we left. As I was leaving I overheard a young man say to someone else, “I love this play! I have seen it three times this week! I have the whole thing memorized.”
I just don’t get it.
I am in no way a prude. In my circle of friends I would be described as a good time. The one that almost always has to make a few phone calls on Sunday mornings to apologize for my behavior the night before. I also am not bothered by curse words. So, for me to find this play offensive, well, it should not be taken lightly.
But neither should AIDS.
Or the perils of the third world.
Now I’m off to go get some cream. This fungus is itchy. I would hate for it to spread.