Gentle sermons turn into endless drills

Gentle sermons turn into endless drills
Belgian Lisbeth Gruwez in It's Going To Get Worse And Worse And Worse, My Friend.

Music is usually an integral part of any dance performance, the swells and ebbs of the melody creating a structure for the dancers to anchor themselves to.

Lisbeth Gruwez eschews all that.

In It's Going To Get Worse And Worse And Worse, My Friend, the Belgian trades conventional tunes for the hard-hitting cadences of American televangelist Jimmy Swaggart's sermons.

She says her performance explores the power of speech and the hypnotic hold that orators have over their audiences.

In a telephone interview from Belgium, the 36-year-old says: "In Europe, we have this beautiful example - Hitler. The content of course was horrible, and I don't agree with it at all, but theatrically, he had really beautiful movements. American President Barack Obama is not as nice to look at."

In the 50-minute performance, Gruwez is tossed around like a ragdoll in an incessant storm of words. Repeated refrains hit again and again like a jackhammer, turning Swaggart's voice into a frightening tide of conviction.

Swaggart, 78, is a Christian speaker who was active in the 1980s, when his hour-long sermons were broadcast by more than 250 television stations worldwide.

He was eventually disgraced in the early 1990s due to a series of sex scandals involving prostitutes.

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