Losing My Religion

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August 7, 2011 by Paula Reed Nancarrow

Losing My Religion: Confessions of a New Age Refugee at the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Seth Lepore

I am charmed by Seth, and by the vivacity of his satire as he lampoons first one New Age religion after another. His physicality, the way he uses the stage, his characterizations –  things I find difficult as a writer and sometimes performer – are outstanding. However, I want him to be doing more than making fun of hypocrits, scam artists and space cases; though it gets laughs, I feel like there is a deeper story here. The parts of the show I was most interested in were not the funny parts – though I enjoyed them – but the serious moments of exploration. I well understand wanting to follow the precepts of Buddhism while finding the Buddhists you encounter not particularly inspiring, even obstacles to practice.  The section in Seth’s story where some Naropa official “changes the rules” before he is to take his second Boddhisattva vow, and Seth’s response to it, is fine and well thought out – as is his own statement of faith in the light of his friend’s suicide.  I would like to see his comedy more fully integrated into these realizations, so that I am better prepared for them.  I would also like to see some compassion for the befuddled; right now he is pretty much the only sympathetic character on his own stage.  But the show is well worth seeing.  I was particularly impressed by Seth’s generosity in asking other performers in the audience to identify themselves and give a shout-out about their shows.

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