Steven Fales is the eponymous Mormon Boy in this autobiographical one man show.
Fales is a gay Mormon, a ‘Brokeback Mormon,’ who outlines his struggle to come to terms with this realisation and the implications for himself and his family. It is clear that growing up as a Mormon had a profound effect on Fales in both a positive and negative manner. A deep sense of duty, morality and a desire to love and care for others is countered by the dawning realisation that the faith he loved has turned against him. Everything that he dreamed his future would be as he grew up, is lost as puberty hits, hormones kick in and something inside him, something he fundamentally cannot change in spite of what his church tells him fights to take over. Fales documents his struggle to be saved from the sin of homosexuality, something he initially believes in possible through counselling and marrying and starting his own family. But as the same question and doubts reappear, how does he cope with a choice between loving himself or loving his family and his God? How can he get his Mormon smile back?
The play is well acted, brutally honest and filled with raw emotion. Fales, strips back all the barriers laying his soul bare for the audience to see. It is a tale of deep sadness, joy, desperation and defiance. A story that is not yet complete.
At times the narrative more drawn out and detailed than it needs to be; setting the necessary context of where his struggles lie, which gives the impression of a slower pacing. There were some technical difficulties with lighting and sound cues for the reviewed performance, which pulled both the audience and Steven out of their immersion, but his humility and profound storytelling ability shone through to ensure that the play was still a success.
It is a thought provoking story, which will stay with those who have heard it and it will certainly resonate with anyone who has ever struggled with their own sexuality, or religious or cultural imposition in their lives. Steven’s treatment leaves a sour taste in the mouth and serves as a reminder that in many parts of the world, people like Steven still suffer persecution for loving the ‘wrong’ people.
2100 (2230) Hill Street Theatre 11-29 August ( Not Wednesdays) More info here.