Allen Barton’s absorbing new drama, Disconnection, spun from his experiences with Scientology, looks at the fallout from a regime change at a self-improvement church, when that church, under a new administration, devolves into an abusive cult.
When amateur pianist Landon (Bo Foxworth) resumes his musical hobby with the help of a music teacher (Dennis Nollette) affiliated with the “faith,” they both find themselves in a no-man’s-land that looks like a blend of Star Trek and 1984. Landon’s estranged daughter (Carter Scott) signed up with the religion following the death of her mother in a car accident, caused by Landon. She works directly for the sadistic Chairman (Everett Wallin), who demands that she submit to an abortion after she's impregnated by her spineless church-member boyfriend (Luke Cook), with whom she pleads to run away.
The allusions to Scientology are allegorical rather than literal — this is a drama about both changes of administration and thought control, which have resonances far beyond the walls of any church or cult.
Joel Polis’ staging underscores the verbal dexterity and wry renditions of his excellent cast, exemplified by one droll and pathos-laden monologue delivered by the church founder (Robert L. Hughes), who finds himself exiled from his own creation.
Skylight Theatre Company at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, 254 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; through March 1. (213) 761-7061, skylighttix.com.
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