note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
If the only thing you know about the Mormons is their colossal tabernacle choir, then get ready to wake up and smell what’s brewing in Steven Fales’ melting pot. Boston Theatre Works’ CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY (at the BCA through May 19) features Fales in his own one man show about growing up Mormon and gay. Yes, he was ex-communicated but not before they tried to “turn him around” with reparative therapy, kinetic therapy, repressed memory therapy, gender-reorientation therapy…just about every kind of therapy short of lobotomy. He even tried marriage as a cure.
Fales’ tortured story is actually quite funny. Fales is a charmer who can joke about his considerable pain. He’s also a recovering addict (sex and drugs, not rock ‘n roll) but that part of his life is glossed over in the play with amusing narratives and somewhat squeamish tales of the easy money he earned from prostitution, which afforded his children fancy rides in limousines to shows at Radio City Music Hall.
Fales’ performance piece reminded me, in a strange way, of Evan Handler’s brilliant one man show about surviving cancer, called TIME ON FIRE. Both men take on mighty institutions: Where Fales tackles the Church, Handler had to fight the medical establishment for the right treatment. Both men were told they were doomed. Both use irony and black humor to deal with the cruelty and both men made a successful return to acting…and life! (They even share the same sartorial revelation at play’s end.)
Fales cites an EST-ish seminar for showing him the way to redemption, which raises a flag of another color, but the show ends right there ----so we’ll never know. Maybe we’ll find out in his next show.