The Fading Flower Press Release:
Theater Company: New Play Project
Where: Provo Theater Company (100 North, 105 East, Provo, UT)
When: Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, May 29-June 8. 7:30 pm evenings, 2 pm Saturday matinees.
Tickets: $8 for general admission, $6 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased or reserved @ http://www.newplayproject.com or through NPP’s managing director Adam Stallard at (801) 691-4494.
The New Play Project is opening a much negelected page of Mormon History with the world premiere production of national award winning playwright Mahonri Stewart’s The Fading Flower.
The play centers on David and Hyrum Smith, youngest son of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and his wife Emma (who was pregnant with David when Joseph was martyred). Having been raised to adulthood when we encounter him in the play, the story tells of David’s courtship with his sweetheart Clara Hartshorn; his support for his brother Joseph Smith III’s role in the Reorganized Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now the Community of Christ); and his conflicts with Latter-day Saint leaders in Utah, including Brigham Young and David’s cousin Joseph F. Smith, while a RLDS missionary trying to covert the LDS members in Utah.
While in Utah, David encounters information about his father from LDS leaders and members that completely alters his world view and has significant repercussions for both the LDS and RLDS faiths. The story, unknown to most Mormons, is fraut with drama, tension and powerful revelations.
“I’ve wanted to play David ever since I read the play almost three years ago,” said Amos Omer who is playing the pivotal role of David Smith, “He is one of the most complex figures in Mormon history. The role has presented some interesting challenges, but I’m very glad to have had the opportunity.”
“When researching this play, so much of the information was new to me,” said playwright and director Stewart, “I consider myself well read in my Church’s history, but this information electrified me when I first came across it. As an LDS culture, we leave Emma and her children behind in Nauvoo. The formation of the RLDS Church and its efforts to proselytize to the Mormons in Utah… well, it’s a complete mystery to most of us.”
Much of the action and conflict centers around Joseph Smith’s widow, Emma. Local, veteren actress Kathryn Laycock Little is portraying the vital role, ” I feel Emma has been judged harshly by many people, but I can empathize with her choices. This play has given me an opportunityto play a part of the Smith history that I had never really thought of before.”
Although the play tackles some difficult issues, such as Joseph Smith’s practice of plural marriage, Stewart said that he strives to present information in a “faith promoting and historical context. I try really hard to be respectful of my own LDS faith, the former RLDS faith and these powerful individuals who are represesented in the play, while still being intellectually honest, spiritually honest and historically honest. Obviously, I come to conclusions which reflect my own faith and worldview, but I’ve also made efforts to give balance to the story.”