Utah Theater Bloggers Association, which is making a serious play at being the preeminent source of live-theater reviews in metropolitan Utah, has reviewed New Play Project’s new show. Although I have read all these plays (they are part of our volume Out of the Mount) and although I already knew I would like to see them performed live, I’ve never been quite so jealous of those who will get to see this show as I am now. the very idea of Eric Samuelsen playing the father in Prodigal Son gives me chills.
But whether you can make the show or not, the book is still available for purchase — including the entire text in several ebook versions for under four dollars.
New Play Project is revisiting five of their most popular plays in show beginning September 16, all five of which are featured in Out of the Mount (to purchase, please click the image to the right).
For full information, visit their website.
Don’t miss it and be sure to pick up a copy of the book at the show if you haven’t already purchased yours.
Note also that NPP is giving away free tickets to these shows. One question remains unanswered at this writing (the answers are available here, if you read through the Out of the Mount posts), and watch the website for more opportunities.
The Association of Mormon Letters announced the winners of the Irreantum Fiction Contest and the Charlotte and Eugene England Personal Essay Contest. Among the honorees are James Goldberg whose work appears in Out of the Mount and Eric W Jepson, coeditor of The Fob Bible and Monsters & Mormons. Goldberg won third place in the fiction contest and second in the essay; Jepson received an honorable mention for fiction. Congratulations, gentlemen!
Everyone who purchases Out of the Mount will receive a free electronic bonus of six additional plays. These plays are:
“Something Shocking” by Enoch Allred
With young playwrights, one generally assumes that there will be an overabundance of absurdism. It’s easy to do poorly and, to wax snobby for a moment, unsophisticates can’t tell the difference between poorly done absurdism and absurdism done well. On top of that, most readers, have a low tolerance for even the best absurdist theater. And so I think editor Davey Morrison made the right decision, putting only one into the book proper (“Caution” by Julie Saunders) and one in the bonus section. This allowed him to include only the two bits of absurdism that he considered the very best. Once you’ve read them, let us know if you agree with his taste in the absurd.
“Lettuce Alone” by Bianca Dillard
Dillard, author of “No One’s Superman“, turns now to more earthbound fare — a mother and stepfather dealing with a teenage daughter on the cusp of her first date with a cuter-than-average boy. The dynamics between protecting and letting go, authority and autonomy, run into walls when parents no longer how to tell jokes that are funny. (Hint: Jokes about condoms are generally a bad idea, moms.)
“Maror” by James Goldberg
Goldberg is in fine form with this third play. At moments, just as it seems about to drop into so-called misery porn, it becomes something much much more. Maror, remember, means bitter herbs. And the religious significance of bitter herbs is something we can, in our koosh modern lives, sometime forget. But, oh, remember, remember.
“Job Well Done” by Matthew Greene
This play has been replaying in my mind for a week now and I feel strongly that you will love it too. What I’m unsure of is how to sell it to you without making it sounds like a simplistic morality tale which is is not is not is not. The scene opens on a successful old lawyer and his trophy wife. He has just successfully defended a well-paying polygamist and his wife engages him on what that man’s relationship was with his wives, how he treated them as property, an object, a possession. And she comes very very close to seeing a greater truth, but — will she be able to finally grasp it?
“A Restaurant” by Katherine Gee
If I were a parodist looking to take on Out of the Mount as my next project, I might focus on the number of plays that deal with romantic couples. Particularly those arguing. But that opportunity for parody might be deflated by Gee‘s awesome deconstruction of the trope. On the one hand, there are three couples, two of whom are engaged in dialogues that might, to the cynic, sound vaguely familiar. But the layering of these couples’ stories combined with the outside observations of a waiter and waitress allow the audience the chance to think critically about what it means — in theater or in life — to eavesdrop upon people’s intimate conversations without any context beyond that presented in the moment. This interplay in eavesdropping creates additional layers of meaning. Which is a fancyschmancy way of saying it’s lots of fun.
Así Es (That’s Just How It Is) by Lyvia Martínez
One of the great projects at the moment in Mormon letters is finding the voice of Mormons outside America. Perhaps a Puerto Rican kid at BYU doesn’t quite fit that description, but the difficulty he has fitting in to a culture that he assumed he already belonged to offers us a window into the complexities involved in navigating a worldwide American faith where “Even the names in the Book of Mormon are hard to remember. Nefi, Neefai; Leji, Leehai.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy six more plays from New Play Project!
An excerpt from “Foxgloves” by Matthew Greene:
= = = = = = = = = = =
MYRTLE. Think about that day when God made the flowers and the trees. It was the fifth day, wasn’t it? When he made the flowers?
ANNABELLE. Why would I know that, Mom?
MYRTLE. The first day was the light and the second was the water.
ANNABELLE. And the darkness and the dry ground. Respectively.
MYRTLE. What’s that?
ANNABELLE. I think the flowers were the fourth day.
MYRTLE. I think you’re right, you been reading the Bible when I’m not looking?
ANNABELLE. No, just remembered.
MYRTLE. But none of that means anything to you, I know that.
ANNABELLE. Well, they got the order right. They made the light and the soil and the water before the plants could grow.
MYRTLE. Of course they did, of course God knows how to make the plants grow.
ANNABELLE. Of course.
MYRTLE. You look up there and you don’t see anything.
ANNABELLE. I see the sun, the clouds.
MYRTLE. Who made those?
ANNABELLE. Mom, we’ve had this argument.
MYRTLE. I’m not arguing with you, I know better than arguing with someone so smart and educated.
ANNABELLE. That’s right.
Read the whole thing
in Out of the Mount,
I have just updated all Out of the Mount posts to-date as, get this, you can now buy the book.
A few sneaky people have already slipped in and purchased their copy so I suppose we might as well make an official announcement.
Please be aware that the paperback copies are not yet shipping, but will soon.
Whether you buy the book on paper or electrons though, we are including a free bonus. More details on that next week.
(Note: the updates made to the posts consist of two changes — the picture now links to the purchase page and a notice of availability is made at the bottom of all pages.)
An excerpt from “On Gonoga Falls” by Deborah Yarchun:
= = = = = = = = = = =
GENNY. We’re in the middle of the Amazon. We’re surrounded by poison dart yielding natives and a team of Russian Government spies. But of course—now we’re stuck because you thought, “Wow. What a great idea. Let’s take a shortcut across the deadly ice-encrusted thousand foot waterfall.”
DANE. Ninety feet.
DANE. Gonoga Falls is ninety feet, not a thousand. We’re not stuck. And there’s no ice in the Amazon.
GENNY. Global warming.
DANE. Would melt the ice.
DANE. I’m through pretending.
GENNY(Smiling). No you’re not. You’re pretending we’re not stuck.
DANE. We’re having a pleasant lunch.
GENNY. Sure. We can pretend that too, if you want. And eventually, it’s not pretend. “It is.” Right?
DANE. Just. Eat your sandwich.
(She looks down.)
GENNY. You’re sure this is the spot?
DANE. I counted twenty-two waterfalls.
GENNY. I counted twenty-one. This is supposed to be the biggest, right?
DANE. Gonoga Falls…Waterfall types are named for relationships, you know? At least the ones at Ricketts Glen. There’s waterfalls that go like . . . . (He indicates a straight down movement with his hands.) Bridal veil waterfalls. And . . . . (He indicates a tiered motion with his hand.) And wedding cake waterfalls—like Gonoga.
GENNY. So, we’re . . . .
DANE. We’re two figurines jam-trapped unwillingly in the middle of a really dangerous wedding cake.
Read the whole thing
in Out of the Mount,