L. Ron Hubbard: Insidious crackpot, or visionary leader? Scientology, the religion L. Ron invented in the late ’50s, will always be surrounded by controversy. But not everyone knows that BS (Before Scientology), Hubbard was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. On most Saturday nights, actors sit onstage at The L. Ron Hubbard Golden Age Theatre and read these stories in front of a live audience. The setup is comparable to old-time radio drama, with three or four actors playing multiple characters, and one serving as the narrator. Appropriate sound effects are included along the way. While participants have included Karen Black, Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), Phil Proctor of the legendary comedy troupe Firesign Theatre, and the late David Carradine, most of the time, the actors are relative unknowns. There are adventure stories of every stripe, involving cowboys, pirates, fortune hunters, gun molls, gumshoes, gangsters, desperadoes and damsels in distress — Garrison Keillor’s Guy Noir would be right at home in any one of these tales. To some of us, it’s a unique, rarely seen form of family entertainment where — yes! — one’s own fertile imagination is required. The evening ends with a dessert reception in a richly wood-paneled lounge area where you can meet and mingle with the actors if you so desire. While Hubbard’s presence is ubiquitous, there is no active Scientology recruitment at these events. Here, it’s primarily Hubbard’s fictional fables of fancy that reign supreme. (Cynics might say that Scientology itself is a hodgepodge of “fictional fables of fancy,” but we’ll leave that debate for others.)

Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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