Photo Flash: Solo Show SQUEEZE MY CANS Explores Escape from Scientology
The Church of Scientology owned actress Cathy Schenkelberg for 14 years. Citilites Theatre brings this engaging writer-performer to St. Louis to perform her new original solo show "Squeeze My Cans" for six performances (May 31 - June 4, 2017) at The Gaslight Theater.
Having spent much of her young adult life inside the cult, it took another 5 years to leave Scientology behind in the face of harassing phone calls, midnight knocks on her door by "outreach" staffers, an expensive custody battle, social rejection, and the hacking of websites of venues where she performed. Schenkelberg finds the courage to tell this hilarious and horrifying story under the direction of Shirley Anderson with lighting design by Steve Miller, sound design by Victoria Deiorio and graphic design by Brett Newton.
"Many of the people who went as far as I did in the Church, lost everything: family, friends, homes, bank accounts, identities and their actual lives." Cathy says, "I'm lucky to be here and healthy." Her introduction to the cult was innocent enough. As a young 20-something struggling to make a life for herself, uncertain where to turn for answers, a friend gave her the book Dianetics and an appointment to meet with someone named "Rich" at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.
Schenkelberg, brings "Squeeze My Cans" to St. Louis after successful runs in L.A, Chicago among other cities, before heading to the Edinburgh Festival. In presenting this cautionary tale, Cathy Schenkelberg hopes to reach: people who feel lost, desperate and alone, searching for answers to life's problems; those who have lost loved ones to a damaging cult, and anyone who has given up their identity, community and life-savings to organizations like Scientology.
"I've known Cathy for over 30 years," says Greg Hunsaker, Citilites artistic director. "Knowing her pre- Scientology persona, I'm honored to help her share her journey of escape, discovery, and optimism in the face of her new found freedom. On the heels of the success of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, I'm proud to present a show so timely and relevant."