by Noam Osband
It is almost time for Rogue Festival again–it will be taking place March 6-14 in the Tower District of Fresno. This week we are posting the last of the Performer Preview articles. This year we have added a special category where you will be able to find all of our Rogue Festival articles. During Rogue we will be reviewing shows as usual, and we also have a Rogue Festival event page with more information!
Growing up in a very religious Orthodox Jewish family, I didn’t know any non-Jews until I got to college. However, I was lucky enough to have an uncle who made me watch Sunday morning televangelists. He thought it was ludicrous, absurd theater, and I sat there transfixed and inspired. As a kid, I would jokingly lay hands on and provide healings to my friends.
Years later, after college, I taught high school in rural Arkansas where most Sunday mornings I would wake up, hit the Volcano Vaporizer, and then attend services at a small Pentecostal church, the kind you’d drive right by if you didn’t know it existed. I found the church because I had twin students who played in the band. I enjoyed the music in the service, and I was transfixed by the power of it all, by the ability of the preachers to really get into it and bring the spirit into people. When the music would quiet down, I’d hear women around me loudly weeping, and it was clear something magical was happening. Even though I was a complete atheist, I became a weekly church goer.
In the fifteen years since leaving Arkansas, I’ve also become a musical comedian, someone who has performed at stages like the Kennedy Center, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the New York Funny Song Festival. I love the power of music and absurdist comedy to take audiences to unexpected places. This past summer, while performing in Scotland, one evening I passed the wee hours in a yurt with some new friends where we all took turns amusing each other. I broke out my preacher character, something I would occasionally perform on stage, and I spent the next twenty minutes improvising. It worked so well; my new friends loved it, and two of them even spontaneously decided to come up and get healed. At the end of the evening, I decided to make a show out of this character, and that’s how Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show was born.
The show is a service which will initially confuse the crowd. Unless they are the discerning audience member who regularly reads Kings River Life, it will not be quite clear who Brother Love is or whether or not he is actually a comedian or a preacher. Perhaps I’m not entirely sure either. I remain a fairly staunch non-believer, yet few things delight me like the communion of people at houses of worship or a good ol’ fashioned gospel song. So come along, get your clapping hands ready, and let’s all see where the spirit takes us.
For more information, go to noamosband.com/brother-love.html or https://www.facebook.com/NoamOsbandMusic.
WHAT: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” at the 2020 Rogue Festival
WHO: Noam Osband, atheist and musical comedian turned holy rolling evangelical preacher
WHERE and WHEN: Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen at 1118 North Fulton Street on Friday March 6 at 9:15 p.m., Saturday and Sunday March 7-8 at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 14 at 3 p.m.
Show details: 60 minutes, adults only, latecomers permitted.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play, and also on Podbean.
Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.