“If you’re Going to be Born Gay, Don’t be Born Mormon”
“I love being Mormon” was the opening line of Questions of the Heart, spoken by what looked like a quintessential whitebread American, as he listened to some beautiful liturgical music sung by the Mormon tabernacle choir.
Written and performed by Ben Abbott, Questions of the Heart is not, as one would expect, a play vilifying the Mormon Church for their strong financial support of California’s Proposition 8 ( the 2008 Proposition to permanently ban gay marriage) but about the dilemma facing a young gay man, who grew up in a large, supportive and healthy family who had only positive experiences in the Mormon Church.
Based on a series of interviews with gay Mormons of all possible permutations, from out-of-the-closet gays who feel happy with a wife and children, to gays accepted by the local bishop, to older gays who were excommunicated just for being gay without acting on it, the actor acted out all the interviews. In addition, he also discussed his profound spiritual connection with some of the unique tenets of Mormonism, and how sustaining a tight-knit caring community can be for any individual as they struggle through life.
Ben Abbott is a great actor and writer, with excellent comic timing. Like all the best comedians he knows how to make us laugh at tragedy. This 90-minute play will make you laugh and cry at the same time as it discusses a complicated issue with maturity and insight. Catholics who enjoy the rituals, paganism, and folklore of the Catholic church but detest the Vatican will especially enjoy this show.
Questions of the Heart: Gay Mormons and the Search for Identify. Written and Performed by Ben Abbott. Theatre Twenty-two. at Tyee Yacht Club. 3229 Fairview Ave E. Eastlake near University Bridge. Seattle. Tues. Aug. 20. www.theatre22.org. Bar opens at 6:30