The Angel Moroni and Presidential Hopeful Mitt Romney show how wholesome American can be. Photo: David Daniels
This is my fourth or fifth year in a row checking out the Salt Lake Acting Company's yearly satire on Utah living and politics, and after sitting through another Jell-O shot filled night, I was not disappointed. This year, they took a slightly different approach than previous years when they have focused almost entirely on headlines from the year. We found ourselves following the narrative of Nephi Jensen, a lowly LDS accounts auditor, as he comes to grips with his relationship wants, his work needs and his religious must-do's. Nephi is joined by other LDS office building employees, members of Quorum of the 12 and even Mr. Mitt Romney himself, as an inner office building battle is waged over the forces of good and evil (you pick whose side you are on).
The drama all begins the day after Obama's presidential inauguration as everyone is coping with the fact that the world must be cursed under the new liberal leftist leader. The timeline moves up through the years and reflects on the changing views that people are secretly coping with. They are confronted with the fact that those they look up to and idolize may not actually be living their lives as wholesomely as they are preaching. This leads Nephi, his girlfriend, a pent-up homosexual and a few office interns to embrace the Democratic side. As the office building cronies come to terms with their feelings and new political affiliations and leanings, they are banished to the dreaded Sub Level 6, where they undergo intensive reprogramming therapy, all set to the catchy, campy tunes I've come to expect from SLAC, including a play on the latest Muppet flick's “Man or Muppet”—“Am I a Man or A Mormon”—and Mitt Romney's chilling version of Cabaret's “Money Makes the World Go Round.”
The overall theme of this year's Voyeur circulates around the right winger's fear of an Obama presidency and Romney's status in the church as he prepares for his crack as savior and chief. I can't help but wonder how intelligent seeming people that I know and respect continue to wholeheartedly support objectives and ideas that seem to go against the very system of beliefs they are standing up for. Voyeur touches on this nicely, as we see example after example of "faith based" compromises that tend to be more self-serving for certain individuals who have proclaimed themselves the voices of the people. It is hard to ignore serious questions that come up like the use of tithing to run a mall or contribute to a political campaign, or that, at one time, the LDS church may have been open to exploring different ideas. The characters swayed by the dark liberal side find this difficult to ignore. You can expect to see a healthy amount of jabs as the LDS church, however, there is an even more satisfying sense of positive reinforcement for members of the church who have decided to think beyond the influence to adhere to a religious standard for decisions regarding politics, sexuality, and the like. Voyeur chooses to inspire this dangerous free thinking to the point that one could almost think that it was alright to be both Mormon and rational.
This production is ongoing through September 2, so make sure to check it out. Go to saltlakeactingcompany.com
for more information.