The Greenhouse Theater’s “Solo Celebration!” series is currently presenting the limited engagement run of “Squeeze My Cans” through July 24th at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. The one person autobiographical show, written and performed by Cathy Schenkelberg, is tautly directed by Shirley Anderson, with lighting by Brandon Baruch, effective sound and production design by Victorio Deiorio and simple uncluttered stage management by Brandi Alexander. Running a tight 90 minutes, it delivers a lot of information about Schenkelberg’s many-year involvement with Scientology-and a lot of laughs, including a number of very funny references to and semi-impersonations of famous Scientology 'stars".The comfortable theater was filled the night this reviewer attended, and the star received a standing ovation.
“Squeeze my Cans” refers to the home-made device called an “E-Meter”, by which the devotees of this expensive psycho-babbling and psychosis-producing slow-indoctrination cult masquerading as a religion “screen” their participants for “clarity” and ascension to expensive new levels. It should be noted that Schenkenberg herself does not make these types of interpretations, but presents the material with the immediacy and clarity of long familiarity, allowing the audience to come to the realizations about the “Church of Scientology” for themselves. This in itself is an extremely impressive feat, given the fact that at higher levels, (the near million-dollars in fees range), the indoctrinee becomes an “operating Thetan”, and the “data” presented at such an exalted height is that of the surround-sound presence of aliens!
The extremely talented and successful voice-over actress apparently lost many years of productive work and fully-realized life while forking over approximately one-million dollars plus to this life-stealing entity. While the performance is laugh-out-loud funny, the fact that she brought her young daughter with her into it’s clutches is nothing to joke about. And it appears that it was this child’s warnings of fear of attempted abduction that eventually got Schenkelberg to flee- “out of the mouths of babes” was apparently her clarion call to sanity.
The production is highly recommended.
“Solo Celebration!” is a series of 12 one-person theatrical pieces presented from June through February at Greenhouse, comprising “everything from autobiography to complete fiction”. The Greenhouse Theater’s stated mission is to “grow local theatre, to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists.
For a flex pass to the “Solo Celebration!” series, or for information about the plays and the company, go to: greenhousetheater
EXTENDED-through March 19th
All photos courtesy of Haley Press