Busted Jesus Comix Play
Paul Gravett has posted up a review of a stage play which is based on the experiences of Mike Diana, an underground comics creator in Florida who was subject to a heavyweight legal assault by the authorities which, among other things, cost him his job and landed him on probation for years (remember, kids, you only have the right to free speech and expression as long as the authorities don’t object to what you do with it), despite help from the CBLDF. David Johnston, an American actor and playwright has created Busted Jesus Comix, a play based on the events which happened to Diana over his Boiled Angel photocopied comics, here taking the fictional Marco and his Busted Jesus Comix as the central plank of the play; from Paul’s review:
“Drawing on this strong body of true material, Johnston develops and refashions it further into the story of his entirely fictional Marco. Centre stage, mainly on a high stool, throughout the 70 minutes, Henry Blake plays the vulnerable teen with depth and subtlety, as he is barraged by his wheeler-dealing lawyer, his brittle blonde Behaviourist shrink, two shrill fundamentalist moral guardians in drag, and the screaming male chorus from “Up from the Closet”, a “faith-based” counselling group intent on reprogramming Marco into a Jesus-loving heterosexual. Almost without notice, the action can jump from these scenes to another encounter Marco has in an awkward interview for a job in a coffee shop in New York, where he’s fled to with only $8 left in his pocket. This scene too can be interrupted by two guys in hockey-style white face-masks and red T-shirts (one of a Boiled Angel cover) as they enact some of the disturbing but ridiculous scenes drawn in the comic.”
I’ve never read Diana’s original work and I’m not even sure its something I’d be particularly interested in reading, but that’s not really the point – the heavy handed censorship in a supposedly free society is; something which always makes my blood boil. It sounds like an interesting play and certainly gets a thumbs up from Paul both as a play and for publicising a censorship event many probably haven’t even heard of. Busted Jesus Comix runs at the Above the Stag Theatre in London until November 28th.