Back home now from the Uno Festival. Good shows, loads of friendly people, lots of food, friends visiting from Washington. All in all an amazing trip, the only downside being that I posed for this photo in the lobby of the Maritime Musuem…
Now I'm resting up, as I leave for Montreal in less than a week.
Here's the review from the Victoria Times Colonist. I honestly don't think I look like R. Crumb, but maybe the reviewer had a bad seat, one with a light in his eyes or something…
Playwright survives cult years with humour intact
Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist
Friday, May 26, 2006
JESUS IN MONTANA — ADVENTURES IN A DOOMSDAY CULT
For someone who spent three years in a religious cult, Barry Smith has an awfully good sense of humour about it.
In this entertaining multimedia romp, Smith — who bears a passing resemblance to cartoonist R. Crumb — tells how he became ensnared in a bizarro tribe led by an 80-year-old chiropractor who thought he was Jesus. After attending an introductory class, the pot-smoking Grateful Dead fan became fully hooked for three years. When the brainwashed 20-something met anyone new, he merely looked for a conversational opening to deliver his religious spiel. We have all been on the receiving end of this sort of thing, so it's fascinating to see the view from the other side.
Smith admits his sermonizing didn't work particularly well on the drunk driver who picked him up hitchhiking and kept vomiting into a paper bag — just one of many amusing slice-of-life vignettes in a fine piece that recalls David Sedaris and other left-field humorists. Another highlight is the hilarious Jesus rap he and his cult friends hatched at the time.
A seemingly minor accident was enough to shift Smith's perspective and yank him off the cult-go-round. (It also helped that none of the cult leader's prophesies came true.) We're left not quite sure why he got involved in the first place. There are references to his discomfort at the Gulf War and an aimless youthful existence, still, the narrator might have delved deeper into his motives. Nonetheless, this well-directed piece — augmented with cunningly choreographed slides, sound clips and film footage — works amazingly well. We may wonder why Smith's sly humour didn't provide the intellectual armour against the man he dubs "Jesus in Montana," but we are certainly thankful for it.