Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gospel According to Jefferson, Dickens & Tolstoy

Five-star performance tonight of a hilarious new play by stand-up comic and Politically Incorrect producer Scott Carter--worth the drive through gridlocked traffic to North Hollywood on the Friday starting a three-day weekend.

This review a month ago in the LA Times doesn't even hint how funny the play is:,0,151780.story#axzz2tNONs2Eu

Not surprising, though, when you realize that Carter got his start doing stand-up comedy and then produced 1,100 episodes of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.

John agreed to take a gamble and go with me; he's now tweeting about it and congratulating me on a real find.

Besides being funny, the play takes you inside the minds and lives of the three writers whose work includes the Declaration of Independence, David Copperfield, and Anna Karenina.  

27 years of research and 200 drafts went into this vividly informative performance, as Scott explained in the fascinating after-dialogue.  See also "JDT: Discordant & Harmonious Notes" by Scott Carter.  

A near-death experience many years ago switched Carter from indifference/hostility toward religion to polite but skeptical interest in all the big issues: Is there anything after death?  Does God exist?  How does one follow Jesus?

Because Tolstoy wrote his own version of Jesus's life and Jefferson cut and pasted his favorite quotes from the life of Jesus, Scott got the idea of adding one more 19th C. writer with religious views and putting all three together in an imaginary room to talk out their differences.

If you live in southern California, don't miss it.  If you're on the East coast, be patient; it will get to Broadway soon.

When I teach RS 310 Religion & Literature, the final exam I often give requires students to select five authors or characters from the semester's reading and put them into some setting where they can talk with each other.  

The resulting dialogues are often hilarious and full of insights.  That's why I enjoy listening to a play based on dialogue among the greats of literature.

See also Carter's blog on Huffington Post:

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