After a half decade of delays, obstacles, research, and revising, I am so pleased that this behemoth is now ready to release onto an unsuspecting world! The plays it includes (from such Mormon Letters luminaries as Eric Samuelsen, Margaret Blair Young, Melissa Leilani Larson, Thomas F. Rogers, Susan E. Howe, James Arrington, Scott Bronson, Tim Slover, Robert Elliott, and Thom Duncan) have effected my life in profound ways and I hope other people will feel the same. They make up some of the finest accomplishments in the history of Mormon Drama. The volume is huge… nearly 700 pages. It has 11 plays, playwright biographies, and a 30+ page introduction on the history of Mormon drama. We’ve tried to be thorough, we’ve tried to give you something meaningful. I hope you’ll see why this is a project I thought was worth working and waiting for.
It’s taken the better half of a decade, but Saints on Stage: An Anthology of Mormon Drama is off to the printers. This is the description of the book on Zarahemla Books’s website:
Saints on Stage is the most comprehensive and important work on Mormon drama ever published. This volume anthologizes some of Mormonism’s best plays from the last several decades, many of them published here for the first time. Several of these plays have won honors from institutions as varied as the Kennedy Center and the Association for Mormon Letters.
This volume includes historical backgrounds and playwright biographies, as well as an introduction that provides an extensive overview of Mormon drama. The following plays are included:
Fires of the Mind ““ Robert Elliott
Huebener ““ Thomas F. Rogers
Burdens of Earth ““ Susan Elizabeth Howe
J. Golden ““ James Arrington
Matters of the Heart ““ Thom Duncan
Gadianton ““ Eric Samuelsen
Hancock County ““ Tim Slover
Stones ““ J. Scott Bronson
Farewell to Eden ““ Mahonri Stewart
Martyrs’ Crossing ““ Melissa Leilani Larson
I Am Jane ““ Margaret Blair Young
Now that all that poetry nonsense is over* we can get back to the good stuff: short stories. And with the return of Short Story Friday, I hope some of you out there will dig back into some of the archives and come up with some good finds. For example, the following story is the only Sunstone story submitted so far.
Title: Jim of Provo (links to search results with PDF download of the story)
Author: Tim Slover
Publication Info: Sunstone, June 1998
Submitted by: Andrew H.
Why?: “Modern-day Job. Interesting switches of tone from the somewhat silly scenes in heaven, to the serious scenes of a suicidal Jim. The biggest problem is that the formatting is off, it was in my original copy of the magazine, and I see it still is off in the PDF. There are a few lines of the story lost.”
Wm adds a teaser line for you: “God’s coyness about free will and determinism gets my goat.”
Content warning: As Andrew mentions, this story alternates the events leading up to and the act of suicide (slight spoiler, but the act isn’t really the point of the story) with humor. I think that it’ll work for most readers, but if you have particular sensitivities to the subject, you might want to pass this one up.
* I play the curmudgeon, but seriously: many thanks to all the AMV bloggers and commenters who participated and the other Mormon lit bloggers who embraced the spirit of the month. And a big thank you to Laura Craner for sparking the whole thing. Yes, I know that poetry shouldn’t need a month, but the reality is that I, at least, often avoid it and so this was a good reminder of what’s to like about the form.