25 February – The Word by Ryan Hogan

Heaven's Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite

This week ScriptTank will be hearing The Word – a pilot episode for a one-hour TV drama series – by Ryan Hogan.

The Word examines the US anti-cult movement in the early 1980s. Set two years after the Jonestown massacre, the series explores a time of unprecedented hysteria over the threat of cult indoctrination in the US.

Despite there being little scientific evidence for its existence, cults are widely assumed to practice brainwashing to recruit their membership, and with no legal recourse to recover their children, parents are turning increasingly to deprogrammers – unqualified pseudo-therapists who promise, for a price, to abduct the cultist and reverse the brainwashing process through emotionally intense, and sometimes violent, confrontations.

The pilot follows evangelical Christian Jude Weeks in his efforts to deprogram an Ivy League student from a little-known leftist cult called the Prelapsarian Church.

After witnessing one of the group’s nudist rituals, Jude attempts to gain the favour of anti-cult pressure group A³ with allegations of sexual abuse.

Attending the reading

The evening starts at 6:45 for 7:00 at the Blue Posts pub, Rupert Street, for this reading. The nearest tubes are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

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