Home Page >> Columnists Funda GUMUSH | 26 July 2015, Sunday

The Book of Mormon...


Whenever my time in the UK draws to a close I get tension butterflies in my stomach… It’s not only for the fact that I have to get back on a plane once again but that my time in the UK never seems enough… There was so much more to do but it was physically impossible to fit anymore into the 8 days that I was there. Whenever my return date draws close, I never want to leave…

My sister took the Friday before my departure off so that we would have the day together… We planned to go into town (London that is) to her overly expensive hairdresser so that we could beautify ourselves further and then catch a matinee show. I had pre-booked tickets to ‘The Book of Mormon’ at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Piccadilly. As the hairdressing, shopping and outcome of that shopping, in the form of my humiliation at Heathrow airport is a story unto itself, I will leave that for next week’s article…

After prettifying ourselves further at the hairdressers, we made our way through the bustle of Regents Street towards Piccadilly. We located the theatre by the massive queue outside. There were two queues – one for those with tickets and another for those who were going to pick them up. I looked at the line and thought to myself that this show would never start in half an hour. I mean come on… No one will get in on time and take their seat… But hello! This is English time not Cyprus time… the show kicked off right on schedule.

The Book of Mormon is a religious satire musical by the creators of ‘South Park’. It tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to a remote village in Uganda. A brutal warlord threatens the local population there but these two naïve and optimistic missionaries set about trying to share one of their scriptures – The Book of Mormon with the public in the village. However the story goes on to tell you that they have trouble connecting with the locals who have lost their faith in God; they are more worried about war, famine, poverty and AIDS than they are about religion.

It sounds deep and intense… However it isn’t. It’s hilarious and somewhat tongue in cheek in places… The local warlord is called ‘General Butt-fucking naked’ which alludes to a real general known as General Butt Naked. Yes, there really is someone by that name!

Ah, Google is a great thing! I discovered that General Butt Naked or Joshua Milton Blahyi was a former commander of forces under the wider control of the Liberian Warlord, Roosevelt Johnson. During the first Liberian Civil war, Blahyi was known for his violence and atrocities in the early ‘90s. Blahyi has said he led his troops naked except for shoes and a gun and believed that his nakedness was a source of protection from bullets. Anyway back to the show…

There is a song which the villagers sing with a really catchy tune with the phrase ‘hasa diga eebowai’ which the villagers say they use when things go wrong ‘to make it seem better’. The words of the song are quite strong… but the phrase is repeated throughout as the chorus. The two young Mormons join in but are horrified to find out that ‘hasa diga eebowai’ translates to ‘f*** you God’! (By the way, ‘hasa diga eebowai’ is not a real language either…) The villagers believed that all the bad ailments, disease and the atrocities by the ‘General Butt-fucking naked’ were God’s fault. Like I said some of it is quite tongue in cheek. The show touches on human interactions, religion and also how in a religious sect such as Mormonism, homosexuality is not acceptable. The show is very clever and entertaining…I won’t delve into the whole synopsis, as some of you may wish to see it if you are in London; however I totally recommend it to anyone thinking about seeing it. We thoroughly enjoyed it and came out grinning and humming the tune to the less than desirable song!

I found out something very interesting however on Friday whilst working on articles for the online newspaper; 24 July was the day the Mormon leader Brigham Young and his 148 followers arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in present day Utah, in 1847. The show incorporates history in it too and this was part of the story the young Mormon missionaries are taught.

The show and this piece of information made me think however about religion and how it is perceived now days…  Everyone has a view; I personally think that religion is whatever people put their faith into, if they put it into anything at all. Do I think there is a higher power or that there is divine intervention? Are innocent people killed in gunfire or by bombings because a higher power has deemed it so? I don’t know. I am not very religious. I believe that everything happens for a reason but I can’t say that that reason is because of a belief. I believe in karma and that what goes around comes around…

Anyhow if you want some less than politically correct humour and you like music, go see the Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales theatre… You will be humming the tune all day!

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