Saturday’s Voyeur 2008

Posted September 12, 2008 in
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Saturday’s Voyeur has been one of the most talked about events in the Salt Lake art scene this year—and for good reason. Nancy Borgenicht has written the play for 30 years! Any type of art or production that happens consistently for 30 years is bound to be a part of a media frenzy, if nothing but because of statistical reasons (think Aerosmith). The show is more popular than ever, and every performance was sold out. They even saw fit to extend it for an extra week. There is a growing audience for this type of cynicism and repartee, and it seems that there will only be growth in the coming years.



Rather than interpreting the details of the skits and social commentary of the event, I find it necessary to give a more personal account of my experience. I have lived in Utah for a mere four years, but I think I have an idea about what goes on here. Although I’m a return missionary and a BYU grad, it is logic that ultimately rules my decisions about what is valid or worthwhile culturally. I am well versed in the intricacies of Mormonism and how it can be a weight to some people, and bothersome to others.

It was a surreal experience to walk into the old 19th Ward Building with a beer in tow. The foyer smelled like a church. Even the soap in the bathroom was reminiscent of my parents’ old ward building. Also linked to my parents was the sea of grey and balding heads. I was literally the youngest person in the room even though I am pushing 30. I couldn’t help but feel as though I was a child sitting in my parent’s pew, about to take the sacrament. The most complex question I took away from the event was, “where are the young people?”

The major theme of Saturday’s Voyeur, and what makes most things funny/important, is the clashing of ideologies. There is abrupt sexuality combined with religious piety, the hypocrisy of conservativism mashing with gay rights and of course, the consumerism of Utah in the face of religious values. Most of the skits are very well written in a late 90s, Saturday Night Live kind of way (apparently the 90s are already making a comeback). I found myself laughing more at the strange situation I was in rather than the content of the play. Maybe that is the whole point of the event—to get together and eat, drink and be merry. It is possible that I am a little too analytical and not willing enough to give in to the absurdity.

Saturday’s Voyeur is an experience that any Utahn needs who is not a member of the church. It is a place where people can go and let out a little bit of steam about their frustrations with a religion that will most likely always be the strongest force in this area. It is a healthy and respectful way for people to gather and gripe and laugh in secret. Secret combination anyone?