Ever wonder what someone is hiding beneath a carefully crafted facade? Especially a Mormon who is trained from early on to keep smiling?
Nowadays when anybody mentions the word "mormon" many minds would probably go straight to "The Book of Mormon" musical. With this mainstream show, we learned the bare basics of how to be a Mormon. But what does it all mean? How does that faith affect those on the inside?
Pride Arts Center Brings Us Steven Fales' Story
That’s where CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY by Steven Fales comes into play. His entire life was devoted to the Mormon faith. Just one thing didn’t fit in - his sexual orientation. For Mormons, there’s no such thing as a homosexual.
CCONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is one man’s story of discovering who he is after an organization he defined himself by turned him away.
Focus Front and Center
A nearly bare stage stands before us with a chair center stage. There’s no fancy sets to draw our attention away from our one actor, Steven himself. No platforms, walkways, or other places where other actors can come in and out of. Our focus is on Steven and Steven alone.
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY was here in Chicago before before being moved to Off-Broadway. Fully staged, Steven mentioned post-show, there would be other larger scale technical elements.
But even with the minimal light changes signaling a location change or sound effects like a voice from a higher being coming from the speakers, it doesn’t feel like we need much else to tell this story.
A Change is Going to Come
Off to the left there’s also a coat rack with various items of clothing on it, meaning there’s bound to be a costume change sooner or later, and boy, is it a change. Going from the khaki pants and Brigham Young t-shirt comes a full disrobing.
Transitioning from the good ol’ poster boy of the Mormon Church, Steven becomes the pinnacle of a New York “rentboy” - g-string, designer clothes and all. This becomes the start of the second half of Steven’s life. He’s no longer the young and optimistic young man he once was. Now it’s time to catch up on the life he thinks he’s been missing as an openly gay man in New York.
For the most part his story is engaging. Steven is charming and good-natured, laughing at his own jokes on stage. His story will strike a chord with any audience member who has struggled to discover who they are and who they are not when they denied their true self. CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY will speak to those who have tried different paths of life, sometimes spiraling out of control and not sure if this path was the right one.
But by the end, there’s a lightness in the theatre. One of hope. Steve’s journey has not ended, but he’s doing alright. Two other plays are being added to this story to make it a trilogy - MISSIONARY POSITION and PRODIGAL DAD, so his story will further develop. As Steven continues to tell his story, he’s embraced his struggle and finding reasons to smile again.
When & Where
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY was here in Chicago in advance of an off-Broadway production planned for early 2018 that will include two additional one-man shows by Fales – MISSIONARY POSITION and PRODIGAL DAD. The three will be performed in repertory as MORMON BOY TRILOGY.
Keep an eye out for updates via Facebook on the production as it gets staged in New York.