Reporter Sarah Millard-DELAFIELD: Phantom Cicada Theater Company’s production of THE BIBLE: THE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD (ABRIDGED) has been ousted from their performance venue at SummerStage in Lapham Peak State Park because of threats and manipulation from Christian extremists … WVCY’s right-wing radio host Vic Eliason stirred local and out-of-state members of the Christian community to harass the board members of SummerStage and the DNR with phone calls and emails about this so-called blasphemous play.. The DNR, who manages the state park, has caved to complaints and forbidden the production to take place as planned. The DNR used a loophole in their contract with SummerStage that disallows non-“family friendly” presentations to be staged in the park.Threats: When I said militant, I wasn’t exaggerating. Things went from bad to worse:
Phantom Cicada’s producer Brian Faracy, the play’s director Bo Johnson, and the performers took steps to stage their production at an alternate venue, the Delafield Arts Center. As soon as the center agreed to host the production, a repeat of the threatening deluge ensued, targeting the center’s administrators. Feeling that their personal safety was at risk, and on the advice of the Delafield police, the venue reneged.This play has apparently been around awhile:
Originally conceived by the Reduced Shakespeare Company, this play has been successfully produced for over 17 years-- including a sold-out 12-week run in Washington DC’s prestigious Kennedy Center. It is an innocuous, non-blasphemous, lighthearted send-up of the Bible. For reviews of past productions, visit the RSC website.
The arts have never been very popular on the right, and any shot at Christianity is taken as an insult, not a parody. The play is described as very Monty Python-ish.
“It’s wacky! It’s zany! And a little profaney.” Sister MaryAnne Walsh, Arlington Catholic HeraldReporter Millard included this direct response:
“The audience dissolved hysterically into the aisles. The troupe’s obvious comic forbears include the Mark Brothers (wordplay and irreverence), the Flying Karamazov Brothers (madcap performance comedy) and vaudeville as reinvented by “Laugh-In” (pace and schtick).” Ron Weiskind – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“This is a slick, fast, very funny show… skilled performers with immaculate, sassy American timing.” London Sunday Times
Please voice your concerns about the DNR’s decision to breach their contract, allowing religious extremists to call the shots, violating freedom of speech rights, and disallowing the production to go forward here:
Secretary - Cathy Stepp (608) 266-2121 – firstname.lastname@example.orgDeputy Secretary - Matthew Moroney (608) 264-6266 - Matt.Moroney@wisconsin.gov