Saturday, 28 July 2018

Scientology the Dramaturgy: The Musical @ Edfringe 2018



What was the inspiration for this performance?

Writing a show about Scientology had always been in the pipeline for us. Scientology is a constant headline maker for it’s controversial and often bazaar practises. It has huge celebrity status and is referenced frequently in pop culture from songs written by Leonard Cohen to films starring Jason Batemen. 
Its intense history and elusive founder create a wealth of material but when you look away from its Hollywood celebrity status, you find Scientology quietly sitting in the corner of every city. The Church of Scientology sits unassumingly in the streets of our small local city of Adelaide and it sits in Edinburgh. Always present, these churches, so far removed from its origin, are filled with local people spreading a message that not even they can comprehend. Before we walked into our local Church of Scientology for research we were expecting something crazy.... aliens perhaps. 

What we got was just regular people. Seeing local Adelaideans in the small office space of Pulteney Street peddling Scientology inspired us to put them on stage and ask the questions what is Scientology? who is a Scientologist?

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

What makes one religion any more believable than any other? Can you worship anything? These are the question we pose to our audience through the night of comedy. Scientology is a religion filled with scandals and hypocrisy - but no more scandalous than the Catholic Church or factions of Islam or really any religion ever! And yet, Scientology is seen as illegitimate. We use Scientology as the springboard to open the conversation about religion and what it means to believe.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Performance has always been an interest of the each member in the group throughout our primary and secondary education. The opportunity to perform came from the Adelaide Fringe. All members of the group reside in Adelaide which made creating and presenting shows quite accessible.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Scientology The Musical involved a heavy amount of research. Reading books, watching documentaries and reading up on the lawsuits involved in New Zealand, Australia and the US. The writing team also posed as aspiring Scientologists and underwent initial testing and consultation at the local church in Adelaide. In this show we want to make sure everything is accurate and that we aren’t being defamatory or false when presenting information about the religion. We want the audiences to decide how they feel about the religion.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

The show does fit with our usual productions. The music is rock/funk and the scenes, characters and costumes are out of this world. It’s hectic but through that is a clear message and a truth that we use to design a more organised chaos.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Really we hope they will just have a good time - that an hour will melt away with music, lights and comedy. The show is fast paced and the songs will get you bopping in your chair.  The audience will be enlightened about Scientology (maybe a few might become Scientologists or not) - it’s a parody so we hope no one is offended, but sometimes you have break a few eggs to get Tom Cruise to notice you.

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