BWW Interviews: Steven Fales Talks MISSIONARY POSITION, Mormon Boy Triology and Solo Perfromance

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As Houstonians gear up for Theater LaB's special event and Regional Première of MISSIONARY POSITION, the second part of Steven Fales' Mormon Boy Trilogy, Steven Fales is busy in Salt Lake City. He tells me he is thrilled to be returning to Houston, especially since CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY sold out before he arrived in town when he premièred the show in the region. He noted that Houston audiences loved it, and really hopes that Houston audiences will eat up MISSIONARY POSTION as well. He feels that the time in right with Romney running for president because audiences will get to see "Mormon Temple ceremonies from an insider and not someone making fun of the church from the outside."

What was the impetus of the Mormon Boy Trilogy?

Steven Fales (SF): It all started with CONFESSIONS, which I did off-Broadway, in London's West End, and just did it in Halifax, Nova Scotia. CONFESSIONS is the cornerstone. Part 2 [MISSIONARY POSITION] came about in Dublin. My friend was doing a show about his experiences as a Marine in Iraq. I felt being a missionary in Portugal was just as exotic as that, and there wasn't anything out there that showed what being a missionary was like. I wrote this show before BOOK OF MORMON. Unlike other shows, in MISSIONARY POSTION, I wear Mormon Free Mason clothes. Also, MISSIONARY POSITION is a 90-minute coming of age tale. It has three outrageous fantasy sequences that are equally high camp to go with all the realistic parts. Then, Part 3 [PRODIGAL DAD] is the most important thing I've ever written, and the hardest thing I've ever written. PRODIGAL DAD is sequel to the 2nd part and tells what happens when I come back home to Utah. It's a Brokeback Mormon story that tells about my experiences with the sex industry and my ex-wife. It is the most satiating of the trilogy and the most inspiring.

I am coming to Houston to ham it up. I have done the three shows in repertory in LA and Fort Lauderdale, but MISSIONARY POISITION is the bestseller of the three. Before coming to Houston I will be in New York looking at theatre spaces. I'll be doing all three of the shows off-Broadway, but the earliest it would open is Spring 2013. I am also working on a memoir book proposal.

What has writing the Mormon Boy Trilogy has been like?

SF: People always ask, "How can you relive your story on stage night after night?" It's not the acting; it's the writing that is the catharsis. You have to go to the depths of your soul to revisit things. It's not always healthy to relive your past, but as an actor, I can leave it all on the stage. As a writer, I become consumed with all the elements of the past. Revisiting the past can be very painful, causing procrastination. I put it off. So, I give myself 5 try-out runs with a new show because it so hard to create. When you go somewhere so specific, it translates across audiences. People tell me, "Oh my god, you told my story!" All we have to change the world really is not a contribution to this or that campaign, it is telling our own personal story of overcoming and transformation.

At what point did you realize that CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY was a hit?

SF: I knew it would succeed the moment I knew I had to tell it. I was living in New York, and I knew I wanted to tell the story of my excommunication. I stopped auditioning for everything else and just knew. I think we all know that we'll be successful, but will we be willing to put the pen to paper and commit to it. The grandiose dream is only grandiose if we don't commit to it. Also, the reason I am telling it is because I was afraid if I were to die that there would be no one to tell my story to my children. I was afraid that my mother-in-law, Carol Lynn Pearson, the most famous Mormon author, would tell my story-the person who ruined her daughter's life. Her daughter married me knowing I was gay. Mormon memoir-gay Mormon memoir-is the family business. I saw how she whitewashed her husband's story and how that bothered Emily [his ex-wife], and I thought even if I leave wreckage, I'm going to leave clues. I felt it was important to do it not only as a gay man in America, but as a dad. PRODIGAL DAD is about how my ex-wife filed false accusations of child abuse against me, which almost wrecked me in the middle of a recession. And guess who was there in court.




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David Clarke David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined BroadwayWorld.com running their Houston site in early 2012 and began writing as the site's official theatre recording critic in June of 2013.


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