The Reverend Billy Project

From Rehearsal Hall to Super Mall with the Church of Life After Shopping
The Reverend Billy Project
Savitri D & Bill Talen

The Reverend Billy Project presents backstage accounts of recent performance actions by Reverend Billy and the troupe's director, Savitri D, recounting their exploits on three continents in vivid narratives that are engaging, shrewdly analytical, and at times side-splittingly funny. We watch as the group plans invisible theater interventions in Starbucks, designs a mermaid hunger strike to thwart gentrification plans for Coney Island, and makes an extended effort to preserve the public nature of New York's Union Square. We follow them to an action camp in Iceland and a flop of a show redeemed by a successful impromptu demonstration in a Berlin shopping mall. As thoughtful as they are funny and inventive, Reverend Billy and Savitri D's story-essays bring to life a playful yet sincere new form of political theater.

"The Reverend Billy Project lucidly and perceptively explains the Reverend Billy phenomenon with wry, infectious humor and remarkable intelligence. Though many political activists have used theater and performance to achieve political ends, very few have left such articulate reports on what they did, let alone detailed road maps of the treacherous theatrical, political, and psychological territory they negotiated."

---Jonathan Kalb, Hunter College

Front cover: Savitri D, Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir at a patriotic picnic in New York's Union Square Park, 2008. (Photo by Not An Alternative.) Above: Reverend Billy and the Choir performing at the Highline Ballroom in NYC, 2007. (Photo by Eric H. Brown.)

University of Michigan Press
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