Reverend Billy is a theatrical character preformed in alternative theater venues by a man named Billy Talen. Assisting in his performances are various members of the “Church of Stop Shopping”, (other members of a mock church who assist Billy in his cause).
The aim of the Reverend Billy and his “Church of Stop Shopping”’s performances are to criticize and create public awareness of the detriment that large corporations and mass consumption pose to our society. Examples of this include events scheduled at Disneyland or in Wal-Mart stores.
The technique the theater trope utilized to achieve this purpose is to imitate or reenact a service of an evangelical church with reverend Billy at the head screaming proverbs and commands about the necessity for the reduction of consumption to save the soul of America and eliminate the evil caused by extensive corporate greed. This also serves the purpose of criticizing the over the top practices often utilized by the evangelical churches in a satirical format.
The art is significant in that it bring to the forefront of the American mind how the consumer choices we as citizens make every day have a larger affect than we anticipate, not only a global scale but on a communal and mental/ideological level as well.