Steven Fales: ‘I was the perfect Mormon with a wife and two kids.’
by Donalevan Maines
Mormons are mysterious, and with Mitt Romney running for president, interest will surely surge in followers of polygamist “prophet” Joseph Smith.
Riding the wave of revelations about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Steven Fales, who brings his solo show, Confessions of a Mormon Boy, to Theater LaB Houston, February 9–12.
“That’s why we do contemporary theater,” says founder and producing director Gerald LaBita. “This is what’s going on now.”
LaBita was “blown away” when he saw Fales, with his “Donny Osmond” smile, perform the 90-minute “dramatic memoir” last August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“I knew 60 percent of the way through [that] this needed to come to Houston,” he explains. ”He is a really great actor, and the literature of the piece deals with such epic issues.
“He talks about how the church put him through reparative therapy where they try to ‘un-gay’ you,” adds LaBita. “It isn’t just Mormons. You grow up Catholic or Southern Baptist, at some point, your beliefs don’t necessarily jive with what the church told you. You have to decide. ‘How are you going to make all this jive with your life?’”
Fales said he turned to prostitution and crystal meth after his ex-communication from the Mormon Church led to his divorce and the breakup of his family. “What do you fill your soul with when you think God doesn’t want you?” he explained in a phone call from Provo, Utah, which is also home to Brigham Young University.
“I was true-blue BYU,” he says. “I was the perfect Mormon with a wife and two kids.” Then he “started to cheat a little bit.” For the rest of the story, says Fales, “You’ll have to come see the show.”
LaBita adds, “At some point, he just reaches bottom. He decides, ‘I can stay here or work my way up.’ That’s what happens with you, whether it’s depression, drug abuse, or anything. Steve reclaimed everything by writing this show, which is about how the human spirit can overcome any and everything. In my opinion, it’s a terrific piece of theater with so many issues that all kinds of people can relate to. It’s inspirational, compelling, and also humorous.
“This is his contribution to help end spiritual abuse and religious violence in churches, mosques, and synagogues,” says LaBita.
Fales is scheduled to perform Confessions of a Mormon Boy seven times at Theater LaB Houston, 1706 Alamo, with shows at 8 p.m. Thursday–Friday, February 9–10; 5 p.m. (sold out) and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 11; and 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, February 12. Tickets at $25 each are available by calling the theater box office at 713/868-7516.
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.