"You are surrounded by absurdity and the yawning abyss of Mickey Mouse's face. Reach up into his fascist eyes, and steal from that black smile, your Godsighting."
Mickey Mouse, Consumer Narcosis and the internet are not the usual fare for preachers, but "The Church of Billy" is no ordinary house of worship. Bill Talen returns to his pulpit once again in the latest incarnation of his Reverend Billy character in the eponymously titled Reverend Billy, playing at midtown NYC's St. Clement's Playhouse, Feb. 21, 28 and March 7. The Feb. 21 performance is already sold out.
Act one will offer a "sermon"; act two takes Billy and the audience to the Disney Store for "a shopping spree." Rev. Billy took on the Disneyfication of midtown in his previous NYC gig, I Was a Tourist in the New Times Square, at HERE in October 1998.
The Reverend Billy continues to preach his motto: "We believe in a God that people who don't believe in God believe in," as well as the credo that "Mickey Mouse is the Anti-Christ" in his latest, which was developed while preaching the summer away in Times Square -- across from the aforementioned Disney Store.
The play's title refers to the day the Reverend "experienced defilement" after boldly making his way through the hellmouth of Disney in order to purchase a turquoise plastic Minnie Mouse dressed as the Statue of Liberty. The Reverend urges us to fight the "mousy hello that sweeps down Broadway." Talen's preacher gained a cult following through a public access television show, eventually leading to a Web radio show ( The Church of Billy's Website) and live performances, in New York's Times Square. Web surfers are urged to e-mail their own private "Godsightings" and personal theologies to the Reverend at Revbilly.com.
For tickets ($10) and information on Reverend Billy at St. Clement's Playhouse, Feb. 21-March 7, call (212) 246-7277.
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Sean McGrath