CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY
Written and Performed by STEVEN FALES
Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., NYC, www.sohoplayhouse.com
February 5 - April 16, 2006
Directed by JACK HOFSISS
Set and Lighting Design TIM SATERNOW
Costume Design ELLIS TILLMAN
Sound Design ROBERT KAPLOWITZ
Production Stage Manager CHARLES M. TURNER III
Press Representative SAM RUDY MEDIA RELATIONS
CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY is Steven Fales’ humor-laden autobiographical tale of his journey from smiling Mormon missionary to married man with children to coming out of the closet to Manhattan male escort, and beyond. Chronicling his attempts to adhere to a religion that would ultimately have no place for him, his coming out, his ex-communication and divorce, descent into drug abuse, and his struggle to reclaim himself, on paper, CONFESSIONS sounds pretty deep.
Fales reveals a lot of himself in this piece, yet somehow, for all of the details of CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY, I never felt that I got to know Steven Fales the man so much as Steven Fales the performer. Most of the time, it felt like he was telling someone else’s very selective story. The program notes from the writer/performer state, "I wrote this play – my valentine to Mormonism and my escorting past – for my children." I suppose this explains the relatively sanitary recounting of subjects like prostitution, but does little to make the revelations compelling. The comic and personable narrative that Fales adopts makes even the seediest aspects of the tale go down easily, and in many instances, where there should have been a sense of discomfort, there was none.
Steven Fales never stoops to bashing the faith he was born into in CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY, even as he no longer embraces it or is able to be a member of the church even if he wanted to. He struggled to remain a faithful Mormon and tried to change his true self in order to remain a member of the church. Having confessed his homosexual urges to elders of the church, Fales received treatment rather than acceptance. Of course, the reparative therapy and other methods Fales availed himself of to rid him of his same sex attraction failed, and in the end it is his larger struggle to accept himself that makes his story universal.
Steven Fales’ CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON boy is interesting and allows the performer to reveal chosen aspects of himself to the audience. In the end, it is the choice of confessions that leave the intention of the piece open to interpretation, rather than the choice to confess in the first place.
- Kessa De Santis -