Hasa Diga Eebowai

The Book of Mormon English Missionary Edition ...

The Book of Mormon  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, Tina and I saw The Book of Mormon (BOM).

It was much better than I anticipated. Sometimes musicals, and the grossly overused formulas behind them, are nauseating.

Nasal singing voices make my skin crawl. And this musical has no shortage of nasal belting.

BOM is one of those experiences that you have to witness to enjoy. I’ve heard several of the songs that meant absolutely nothing to me before seeing it in full context.

So whether I say I loved the show or not is superfluous. I really liked the show, but I could never tell anyone that they NEEDED to see it. I’d never say it’ll change your life.

The show is farce. It’s parody, and while almost the entire audience seemed to LOVE the song “Hasa Diga Eebowai” and love it even more when they learned the translation was “Fuck you, God,” I can’t tell you that you’ll love it too.

Because out of context, you’d probably never love a song that translates to Fuck you, God.

But when you see a stage full of black actors dancing in African style throwing their hands in the air with middle fingers raised, it is one of the most brain-wrenching levels of gorgeous evil. You know what I’m talking about. The absolute joy of an African chorus matched with joyous, unadulterated adulation, but the words don’t match the happy … it’s a great deal of cognitive dissonance … especially if you believe in Jesus, Mormon or not.

It was great to think that if 80% of America believe in God, and approximately 99% of the theater audience was rolling in the aisles during that song, then what should I do with that percentage?

I realize Chicago is more freethinking and accepting of diverse forms of art, but come on.

The only person who seemed to not enjoy the musical was the woman sitting next to me. She was noticeably laughing until “Fuck you, God” came on. Then I think smoke billowed out of her ears until the curtain call.

The great moments in the musical were places where they explain accurately the horrendously ridiculous Mormon tradition and beliefs, and Tina would lean over and ask, “They really believe that?”

I nodded and said, “Yep.”

She shook her head in disbelief. But if you described any faith tradition to any adult — as long as it’s not their own — it’s perceived as ridiculous. I mean really, if you never heard the Christian gospel, or the Jewish plight or the Muslim concept, you’d shake your head in disbelief.

I’d like to buy a Hasa Diga Eebowai t-shirt.

I think a lot of my family would wear one.

Nah, I’m just yanking your tooters.


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