Two-Headed

Last night we went to see Gan-e-meed Theatre Project’s inaugural production of the play Two-Headed by Julie Jensen. Here’s a good review from some production a few years ago, which includes the following explanation from the author (the link is mine)

We were two-headed about a lot of things, meaning that we kept secrets. We had public heads and private heads. Sometimes I was two-headed about the Mormon Church. I just didn’t want to talk about it. Most of us from long-established families were also two-headed about the Mountain Meadow Massacre. It had happened in 1857. No one alive remembered the events. But our families had been involved, or else they knew families who were…And so we knew and didn’t know. We imagined and didn’t talk about it. The same was true of polygamy. Many of us had polygamous grandparents, great grandparents. Many of us were distantly related because of it. And yet we didn’t talk about it. We knew and we didn’t.

Kara Manson and SerahRose Roth did a fine job with the play’s vignettes from the intertwined lives of two pioneer Mormon women. The play’s emotions are restrained, and so the audience left dry-eyed. That made an interesting comparison to the production of Doubt that we saw a few weeks ago, where it was all right there on stage and the entire house was teary by the end. Appropriate, though… it seems to me that being a good pioneer wife required keeping it bottled up, especially in public.

Afterwards there was a Q&A with the actors and director, and the quality and tone of the questions was as interesting as the answers. Echoing a current controversy, the troupe was asked if they felt that a play written by a man could have moved them the same way. Yes, they replied, we’re actors… a good answer. Another audience member had been a VISTA volunteer in Southern Utah and shared her remembrances of the area, and we had been in Utah more recently and Lee shared her thoughts about the duality of Mormon life for women that persists even today. All in all, a nice discussion to cap off a nice evening.

The show was held at the New England Youth Theater, where we’ve been several time. Ms. Manson is an NEYT alum, having answered the very first audition there, according to the nice article that came out in the Reformer and alerted us to the show’s being in town.

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