I went to see “Book of Mormon” yesterday; quite a step out of my comfort zone as I’m rather unaccustomed to seeing musicals.
Book of Mormon, written by the creators of South park, is a satire that has had enormous success. Originally written in english(obviously) the producers here have been given the right to translate it swedish, the first to do so I was told.
I’m not the biggest fan of South Park and I thought that in parts this was a bit too juvenile but there is no denying that the cast does a brilliant job. Seeing eight man do a synchronized tap-dance is life-affirming. And yes there were jazzhands and sequined vests during that routine. I was entertained and happy that I went. I probably would not have bought tickets myself so this was a genius christmas present and I’m very grateful.
And it should be noted that representatives from The Mormon church were standing outside, giving out leaflets with information about their faith.
I don’t know how much my rather uninformed opinion about the mormon church matters for seeing the musical; they are basically poking fun at any organized religion. Mormons are not a big religion here but Sweden has in the past been a religious country; the state and church were the same and in addition baptist, pentecostal and other branches of protestant christianity have played a big part. All those churches also mission and use baptism as a rite of passage and induction to the faith not to mention exclusionary views on the world and a wide range of rules to live by.
That said I probably know more about the followers of Joseph Smith then the average swede much due to a fascination with american culture and an eye to what goes on there. And also Sherlock Holmes.
I reread A study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle this summer having read it first in my early teens. I can’t remember that mormons played a part then because I had no clue what mormons were and didn’t bother to find out; I assumed they were a religious following and that’s all you really need to know in that context. I won’t go into detail as to not spoil anything for anyone, but it did come up in conversation yesterday when talking about famous mormons(Come back Mitt Romney: all is forgiven!) and their place in popular culture.
I also brought up this episode of 99% Invisible, a podcast that I love, which was about the planning of Salt Lake city which I found fascinating.
In short; seeing musicals that are not Sound of music can be worthwhile and it is a form of cultural expression that can be in step with modern times, Sherlock Holmes is a joy to read and I will probably reread more of these books (although I will try to keep my rereads to a minimum this year) and podcast are a great window to other worlds.