Book of Mormon

Last night Clare and I attended The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum Theater, and WOW! It was better than I had even hoped! I was familiar with some of the music, but finally watching it showed me the brilliance of the creators, actors, and musicians. Plus, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

What struck me most was the use of comedy to highlight the absurd, particularly the absurdity of closed-minded perspectives. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are rather brilliant in that arena (as evidenced by South Park, particularly in its later seasons). They take an aspect of human life, condense it, and then exaggerate the characters to demonstrate the ridiculousness of many of our attitudes and actions with the goal of making us laugh at ourselves and perhaps open our minds a bit more. The Book of Mormon is a prime example of their humor.

The show speaks for itself, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend going. You may like it, or you may hate it, but try approaching it with an open mind. You may very well find it offensive. We noticed several people who had left at intermission. However, I do not believe that the purpose of the show is to offend. Rather it strives to force you out of your comfort zone and to look at difficult topics directly. Its shock tactics are used strategically to broaden the audience’s point of view.  I love what the show demonstrates through musical theater: a wildly fun, hilarious, catchy song-and-dance spectacle that criticizes our far too often absurd logic, which is usually based on our inability to see beyond the confines of our own beliefs.

Art provides the viewer with a perspective. It can be a single person’s view or an entire community’s collective belief. Regardless, art provides the opportunity to share an idea which may fall outside of the viewer’s own understanding. It is impossible for us to experience everything in the universe within one lifetime, but through art we can begin a journey to broaden our perspectives, open our minds to new possibilities, and learn to communicate with one another via one of the most expressive, efficient, and direct languages possible.

It’s amazing what we can learn from each other!

Thanks, Book of Mormon.