If you want heated debate and controversy, just start a religious debate. It’s a topic of discussion bound to be wrought with hurt feelings, offended sensibilities and even name-calling. It is a subject most of us steer clear from in day to day life. Most of us, but not Jake Nielson and Matt Predny, writers of the brand new hit musical An Atheist’s Guide to the Galaxy, an uproarious new musical about one boy’s journey from religion to atheism and “everything in between”.
I spoke to Matt and Jake about the production, one that in this day and age, is sure to be provocative. “The piece was created as the love child of our opinions on religion. We wanted to satirise religion but explore it through music theatre as we both had a strong passion.”
As is to be expected, the production process was not without its troubles. “When we first produced the musical we had promotional material removed from public spaces. It didn’t contain offensive content per-se, but the word atheist seemed to rub people the wrong way.”
Australia is a country in which a large majority still identify as religious, so The Atheist’s Guide is sure to offend, challenge and provoke…but also entertain and enlighten. “While the show has an agenda, the most important aspect of the show is the comedy and entertainment value. We’ve worked really hard to make sure that the style and tone is that of a vibrant Broadway comedy.”
Sep 15-23, Sidetrack Theatre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville, $15, 9560 9167, 2012.sydneyfringe.com