“Losing My Religion” at the Minnesota Fringe Festival: Seth Lepore’s loss is our gain


Seth Lepore’s Losing My Religion is as bare-bones as Fringe shows get: just a man, a chair, and a spotlight. That’s all Lepore needs, though: his body seems made for performing one-man shows, with rangy arms and a big, expressive face. He’s impossible not to watch.

In Losing My Religion, on stage at the Augsburg Studio—a wonderfully warm space I experienced for the first time at Saturday’s performance—Lepore runs through a number of parodic characterizations of new-age gurus he’s encountered over, according to a program note, “many years exploring my own spiritual identity.” There are a few points where Lepore talks about himself and his own journey, but the meat of the piece is Lepore’s skewering of sham shamans.

They’re easy targets, but Lepore adds substance to the piece by giving these characters actual charisma. Part of your brain is reminding you that this is a Fringe show mocking exploitative “self-help” programs, but another part will be telling you to sign up for what the gurus are offering. That’s the strange danger of these characters, and Lepore conveys it with a precise, polished, unfailingly entertaining performance.