RTP’s “Mormon Boy” Has a Message For All of Us
Reagan was Moses, so we’re going home to Utah and planting daffodil bulbs. Just to be a writer and juxtapose those words to create that sentence from pieces of a whole, gives me great joy. “Confessions of a Mormon Boy” is a one man show written and performed by Steven Fales, which opened its month-long engagement at Richmond Triangle Players this past week.
I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the first part of “The Mormon Boy Trilogy” which can be seen by itself on Thursday or Sunday evenings, and in marathon format with its second and third counterparts on Saturdays at the theatre in Scott’s Addition.
Part two “Missionary Position: A Coming-of-Age Tale” is presented on Friday evenings along with Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And the Finale, “Prodigal Dad: A Manic Memoir Meditation” is presented only in conjunction with the first two plays on Saturday evenings through February 9th.
“Confessions…” is an International off-Broadway sensation that chronicles Fales’ life of Mormon service, coming out, excommunication, divorce, prostitution, drugs, and the fulfillment of mending the broken bonds of his once “forever family”. It is told with enthusiasm, sex appeal, brute self-confidence, and enchanting humility.
With the exception of one perhaps misplaced pretty churchy show tune, this play is entirely engaging and ensnares every heart string. There’s even a no frills strip-tease that made sure everyone in that room still had a pulse. There is a multi media element to the show which needs to be perfectly timed to coincide with Steven’s on stage epiphanies. This is executed with the utmost efficiency by Lighting and Projection Designer, David White. Along with Joe Killian, the behind-the-scenes team makes sure that The Voice of God shows up precisely on cue.
I was quite intrigued to see this play, considering I had a surprising number of Mormon friends in high school and wound up being traveling buddies with a beautiful and athletic Mormon young lady in college. I remember her asking for advice with emotionally processing the news that her best friend had just come out to her.
Honestly when I first met this lovely lady I figured she would be one of the girls I would date in college, but she seemed to be devoutly straight and I know better than to bark up those trees. I watched her wrestle with what she knew to be morally sound… And what her religious background was telling her to do.
Thankfully she listened to her heart and didn’t lose her friend’s companionship due to church doctrine adherence.
Fast forward thirteen years and she is happily engaged to her long time girlfriend, and they are starting their family with their gorgeous daughter.
Steven Fales obviously endured the same moral self-grappling and community induced alienation that my friend suffered through. And although this one man show works in and around specifics like a “Donnie Osmond Smile,” it is rooted in the gut wrenching, down and dirty mess we call existence.
It speaks profound truth and compassion for the outcast that lives inside all of us. That one inescapable characteristic of our true selves that we hide deep in our souls. Some for a very short period of time, and for others…. for what seems like eons.
It is a manifesto of accepting yourself and others as they exist without pretense, and the dangers and consequences of ignoring not only your true self, but the inner truths of those around you. It represents the entire demographic of humanity… Young, Old, Mormon, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, Black, White, Asian, Straight, Gay, Trans, Queer, or Other.
This show has a message for every single one of you, and the beauty is we all take something different away from it. Set aside some time in the coming weeks to journey to RTP and enjoy this touching tale of a vibrant young man and his brutally honest transformative life.
Read our recent interview with Steven Fales here.
The Mormon Boy Trilogy runs through Feb 1 at the Richmond Triangle Players. You can get tickets here.
Xtina Fitch is the Founder, Director, and Choreographer of XF Company of Dance. She studied Engineering and Mathematics at N.C. State University. She has been teaching dance professionally and Bar-tending in RVA for more than a decade, and is thrilled to join the GayRVA team!
On opening night, both “Sparks” are put on trial with their fates decided by the audience in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style finale.August 28, 2014
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