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Hot topic, but there’s no heat

A performance troupe doesn’t name itself Culture Clash without some awareness that its material -- which often skewers racial, ethnic, religious and gender stereotypes -- might occasionally result in just such a clash with its audience.

But Culture Clash -- Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas and Herbert Siguenza, three guys from L.A. -- reports that the group has met with no resistance to a hot-button theater piece about a religious institution in its current show, “Culture Clash in AmeriCCa.”

The piece is based on the true story of a Bostonian who tracked down and confronted the priest who abused him when he was a child -- and then forgave him as the priest lay dying. The troupe has performed the show in Los Angeles, Chicago and Syracuse, N.Y., to mixed but mostly favorable reviews.

But now, the trio is telling the “Catholic Survivor” story in the wake of the death of Pope John Paul II and in the city where the scandal occurred.

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Speaking from Boston, where the show is running through May 8, Montoya acknowledged that the story resonates perhaps more strongly among the Massachusetts capital’s Roman Catholic faithful than in other areas of the country.

But he added that audience reaction has been positive, with the segment evoking more tears than shock or anger. He believes that’s because the troupe has chosen to forgo its trademark humor in presenting this particular story.

“It gets quiet, like a church,” Montoya said. “You have little old Irish ladies coming up to you after the show and saying, ‘I know the boy you are speaking of, and the priest and the parish.’ And they are giving us the thumbs up.”

True to form, Culture Clash segues directly from “Catholic Survivor” into a segment about a transgender character who provides a humorously clinical description of how his male genitalia were transformed into a female’s. “It gets a little quiet after that too,” Montoya said.

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