Sunday, July 23, 2006

Boo Cheesy Biblical Theatrical Production! Hooray Bible!

Inspired by (a) a week's vacation that gave us cable TV access to view Red Stripe Beer commercials on ESPN; (b) our return trip from the Outer Banks to Cincinnati via the Smokey Mountains, we begin what may become a recurring feature: a shameless imitation of the delightful Red Stripe commercials in which we boo something utterly tasteless done in the name of Christianity so that we can by contrast cheer the antidote to such hooey, namely, the sacred canon of Christian Scripture.

Our reference point for tastelessness is drawn from that Great Mecca of the Garish,* that giant neon-and-plastic scar on the southern stretch of the Appalachian Mountains, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Having stopped for a much needed sandwich near the northern end of the Pigeon Forge strip, we learned from Son of SWNID's discovery of a brochure about Pigeon Forge's amazing Miracle Theater. The musical stage production The Miracle includes depiction of creation (nudity avoided with anachronistic leaf-colored clothing), a battle between angels of good and evil (complete with plastic armor and big, fluffy wings), and lots of Jesus episodes.

Now, we are all for biblical drama. And we aren't in a position to condemn anyone for insincerity. But we note that the folks who produce this have a number of shows on the Pigeon Forge Strip. One might conclude that the objective is as much to appeal commercially to the religious sensibilities of the Bible-Belt patrons of Pigeon Forge as to propagate the Christian message.

But where the propagation of the gospel is concerned, motives are secondary, after all. And we are all for the strategic use of drama to convey the Christian message. We simply doubt that a commercial production can have the same impact as a production done by nonprofessional Christians in a church setting, where church members are around to provide context, interpretation, and encouragement to the people whom they have themselves invited to the production, or where the production is but a part of a many-faceted program of communication. Further, we somehow doubt that anyone who wasn't already pretty interested in things Christian would attend The Miracle while vacationing in Pigeon Forge.

But here's what really bugs us. The gospel story is better in its unadorned form in the book than it is even in a tasteful stage production, and this isn't a tasteful stage production. We insist that the unadorned biblical text creates way, way better pictures in our heads than what Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment can produce nine times a week near Dollywood.

So we say, Boo Cheesy Biblical Theatrical Production! Hooray Bible!

And remember to read responsibly.

*We also nominate Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada for this designation.


Dustin said...

I myself was able to experience all that Pigeon Forge had to offer around the fourth of July. Having frequented this place as a child, I was astonished at how far...down it had gone, and just how much "crap" could be crammed into one stretch of road. The miracle theatre was quite interesting, but not interesting enough for me to spend my hard earned money on.

steve-o said...

best quote in commercials:


farris said...

We are Garish, aren't we?

JB in CA said...

Didn't Oscar Wilde say something like, "All bad poetry is sincere?" Ditto bad religious theater.

Justin said...

hey, my mom is in that play. just jokin, but if she was, it would probably still suck.