BWW Interviews: Steven Fales Talks Houston Premiere of PRODIGAL DAD
Gerald LaBita, who is committed to gifting Houston with the best of Off-Broadway theatre, is bringing Steven Fales back to Houston for the third part of his Mormon Boy Trilogy, PRODIGAL DAD. Whether you've seen the other two or not, there is no reason to miss this Houston Premiere. Recently, I chatted with Steven Fales about the show and why Houston must see it.
BWW: What is the inspiration for PRODIGAL DAD?
Steven Fales: Life took some twists and turns after CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY that I never expected. There had to be sequel because I didn't want CONFESSIONS dangling. I'm committed to telling the truth and a certain amount of transparency in my life. When I was being fingerprinted for false allegations of child abuse, I knew I had to let it all hang out. A trilogy was born. I wrote MISSIONARY POSITION, the prequel, to buy some time to write PRODIGAL. And before I knew it, a trilogy was born. I'm very Greco-Mormon in that respect! The story seems Greek. And well, I guess I can thank my Greek great grandfather for that. You'll meet him in PRODOGAL DAD.
BWW: For audiences who haven't seen CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY and/or MISSIONARY POSITION, is there anything they need to be brought up to speed on before seeing PRODIGAL DAD?
Steven Fales: All of the plays are self-contained. But what they might not get in PRODIGAL is how much my excommunication and my escorting cost me. Just as I'm on the other side of these extreme events, life hit me hard. [Pauses] Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.
BWW: What has been the most challenging aspect of preparing PRODIGAL DAD for audiences?
Steven Fales: The hardest part has been the re-writes. I used to binge over this story because it was so personal. In time, I've been able to leave the story onstage. It is the longest of the plays. So the shear length of the piece is daunting. But I hope audiences will be compelled by the story and find I've earned the length. For the first time, I've given them an intermission! And guess what? They come back for Act Two! Whew!
BWW: What has been the most rewarding aspect of preparing PRODIGAL DAD for audiences?
Steven Fales: I'm relieved and encouraged to find that audiences find PRODIGAL DAD to be the best of the three solo plays. That's saying a lot. I took a big risk with PRODIGAL on so many levels. So, I'm glad to find audiences moved. And they laugh and laugh along the way even though it is a very harrowing tale. For the first time in my storytelling, I'm adding projections. This has added so much dimension to the storytelling. I'm not as alone onstage anymore, too! As a solo performer the cast parties get lonely!
BWW: What do you hope audiences will take with them after seeing PRODIGAL DAD?
Steven Fales: This play is for all "prodigal parents." There are no perfect parents on earth. This play is to encourage all parents to keep "coming home" to their kids. And it is a reminder that no matter how bad it gets, it does get better if we don't make it worse first. I hope audiences will forgive themselves and others as they examine their own stories. We all have a story.
BWW: After you do PRODIGAL DAD in Houston, what's next for you and The Mormon Boy trilogy?
Steven Fales: All sites are set on mounting these three plays in the "Mormon Boy Trilogy" off-Broadway. After this mini run in Houston, PRODIGAL DAD should be set and ready to go. I'm working on a book and documentary film to go with the trilogy. So, the trilogy has become a trilogy of these three projects. It's a "Mormathon!"
PRODIGAL DAD, presented by Theater LaB Houston, runs at Obsidian Art Space, 3522 White Oak Drive, Houston, 77007 from Friday, April 11, 2014 and Saturday, April 12, 2014. Performances are Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.theaterlabhouston.com or call (713) 868-7516.