How To Live (After You Die)

14 May

This is simply a sharing; Lynette Wallworth tells us of her time in a Christian cult.

She stands alone on stage, and with the aid of only slides and a little music, she shares how at eighteen she succumbed to the cult – and then suffered four miserable years until she broke free.

She speaks with intelligence and wisdom. Her tale is beautifully discursive, as she weaves in anecdotes from her artistic work with indigenous people from around the globe. The spiritual experiences she relates, both her own and other people’s, are rich and life-affirming. They’re a powerful counterpoint to the tale of the cult.

Initially innocuous, but ultimately insidious, the charismatic cult in suburban Sydney encapsulates two ways in which the grand religious tradition can be corrupted.  

Wallworth admits to being seduced by the sweet promise of simplicity, that by joining the community the dreadful burden of choice would be lifted from her. We feel only sympathy, knowing in our hearts how tempting the abrogation of responsibility can be.

In contrast, the desire for power that mars the community is more difficult to forgive.  Must it always be such, that God is found in the Desert, but in carrying Her back to the City, joy and honesty sour to self-assertion and manipulation?

As Wallworth spoke of her eventual liberation from the cult, I was in tears.

And the gentle words of the nun who helped save her?  

Of course, to repeat those words here would be a spoiler, but they’re a tender reminder of the nature of God and what She would truly want for us.

Veronica Kaye

How To Live (After You Die)

Written, directed and performed by Lynette Wallworth

Playhouse, Sydney Opera House

Until Sat 14 May

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