A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant | Noyes Cultural Arts Center | Theater & Performance, Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays, Mon., Dec. 7, 7 p.m. and Wed., Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m. Continues through Jan. 3 2010

Decades ago, grade-school kids performed on what is now the Next Theatre stage, so there's a sense of deja vu as eight preteens enact Kyle Jarrow's wicked parody-ritual. Kathryn Walsh's staging doesn't stop at mocking L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology's celebration of cult-like "reason." With its smug certainties and self-serving creation myth, this 65-minute pageant also spoofs Nativity reenactments and passion plays. Familiarity somehow defies contempt, though, and the show comes across as an ecclesiastical infomercial. A Red Orchid Theatre's competing version delivers a much more equivocal ending, but both productions present salvation on the cheap--never more simplistic than out of the mouths of babes. --Lawrence Bommer

Price: $15-$25


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