Richmond Triangle Players Confessions of a Mormon BoyBy Bruce Levy • Feb 14th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Richmond Triangle Players: (Info) (Web)
Richmond Triangle Players Theatre, Richmond, VA
Through February 16th
$26/Student prices available
Reviewed February 13th, 2013
As I start this review I realize, no matter what I say, someone has to be offended. This is clear just from the title of Confessions of a Mormon Boy, which is playing at Richmond Triangle Players thru February 16 for five performances only. In this autobiographical one-man play, written and performed by Steven Fales; Fales tells the story of his failed attempt to overcome his “same-sex attraction” through “reparative therapy” which resulted in his divorce and excommunication from the Mormon Church.
On the one hand, my conservative Christian friends, and especially my Mormon friends will be offended by the gay theme (and as one Mormon friend has told me, Mormons are one of the few groups that it is still politically correct to offend). On the other hand, my gay and Lesbian friends will be offended by any attempts to apologize to my conservative Christian friends for enjoying the show.
One has to view a play such as Mormon Boy with an open mind, or at least be willing to objectively view it as a work of art, regardless of their personal bias. As Fales points out at the end of the play, everyone has a story to tell; and as my guest for the evening, Morgan pointed out, Fales has a powerful story and it is one that was able to captivate and hold the attention of the sell-out audience for 90 minutes – with no intermission.
Fales indeed looks the part of the All American Boy next door. He walks the audience through his life from boyhood to manhood, as he tries to make his two worlds as a Mormon and a gay man work together. It all leads from marriage and two children to divorce, excommunication and eventually working as a gay male escort in NYC, prostitution and drugs. In the end, the boy next door becomes a man – a gay man and a good man and a good father.
Fales, of course, connects well to the piece since he is retelling his own story. He has energy, charisma, charm, and that key Donnie and Marie “Mormon smile.” His facial expressions, stage presence and verbal and visual recreation of various “characters” from his past keep the audience riveted to his performance (he also has a pretty darned good singing voice). His dry and dead pan humor is poignantly juxtaposed with many of the harsh realities in his life history.
Mormon Boy was originally directed Off-Broadway by Tony Award-winning director Jack Hofsiss (The Elephant Man).
David White’s lighting and Joe Killian’s sound help to enhance the mood. The booming, omnipresent voice of God quotes scripture and reveals some of Fales’ deepest thoughts. Especially effective are dim lighting as Fales reveals some of the “darker” moments in his life, and bright, full house lighting as Fales exposes some of the truths he has learned about himself.
Finally, he chooses to stop being a victim and chooses to reconcile with his Mormon father and his ex-wife. He also comes to reconcile his belief in God with his sexual orientation by realizing: could God have made this many “mistakes.” Make no mistake; it would be a mistake to miss this Confession.
The themes and some simulated sexual acts keep this from being a “family friendly” show, but certainly make it an interesting entry in the Acts of Faith Festival.
Photos provided by Richmond Triangle Players
- Steven Fales as himself
- Directed Off- Broadway by Jack Hofsiss
- Sound design: Joe Killian
- Lighting: David White
- Stage Manager: Sharon Gregory
- Managing Director: Philip Crosby
Disclaimer: Richmond Triangle Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://richmond.showbizradio.com/goto/172.
Bruce Levy is by day a Special Education teacher, teaching History, Science and drama to Middle and High School students in a private Day School in Stafford. He has degrees in Educational Media and Special Education. He is also a part time Radio News Anchor and occasional actor in the Richmond area. Bruce is a native of New Jersey and spent most of his "adult" life in Upstate New York, where he started and ran a national award winning youth theater and cable television program for over 10 years. He has lived in Virginia since 2002, and in Caroline County since 2005, where he is active in many community groups; including serving on the Board of Caroline's Promise.