I love live musicals and plays, and I love them even more when the subject matter relates to different forms of relationships so that I may write about them and share some thoughts. In this case though it is not necessarily the subject of the show that I want to point out, but more so the questions from the audience afterwards. The musical was called “Keep Sweet: Polygamy the Musical” and it was a work in progress reading and singing of the script. Overall it was very well done, with a little polishing still needed but it was obviously well researched and each character was loosely based on real life people at polygamist compounds. As I said though the point of interest here really was in the after show questions and feedback portion of the show.
I am fascinated by religion and culture, and I know I do a lot of my spare time reading in research of these fields as it is my hobby and has been for as long as I can remember. Based on the questions of last night though, I quickly realized I may be more alone in this quest than I previously thought. One lady in particular questioned why the play wasn’t darker as she could handle a lot more doom and gloom in regards to the compound and the way this group lived. I was shocked, yes it is a different lifestyle and yes when it hit the media a few years ago it was due to a very sick prophet (leader of a polygamist sect in Utah) so obviously sensationalized. But these believers in the principle of Mormonism live this lifestyle because they believe that polygamy and large families are the only way into heaven. The plural marriages, sister wives, hard work and family all go hand in hand for their salvation. Why as an outsider would we want to view that lifestyle in a darker way?
After that comment it truly became an educational hour whereby the majority of the audience wanted more knowledge on the in depth research that was done in order to create this musical. Almost morbid curiosity as to why the old prophet was arrested, are there actually any happy people on the compound, etc. I think most disturbing though was the question about the girl who was depicted with a hair lip and a limp, representational of a child born of inbreeding and why she was not marriage material. The female questioner wanted to know if she was not able to marry because she was ugly or because she was visibly deformed. The families living on the compounds are humans with 5 senses just like we are. They clearly do not want to continue a line that has deformations in it as a result of inbreeding is a natural stigma no matter how much we may try to fight it on the day to day. Even in nature if a gorilla for example, has a scar on her nose, it is less likely that she will be a desirable mate as a physical deformity is present. These are basic survival skills and not some foreign entity just because they are people with a different religion and live in a closed community for the most part.
I understand the curiosity when introduced to concepts or ideas that are foreign, however it is a really important skill to do so by placing as little of your own thoughts and views upon them. The skills of walking into a culture or situation without any biases or as little as possible really open you up to learn as much as possible and have a better understanding, appreciation and acceptance for why and how people live. If you are seeking the darkness of something you have passed a judgment that the idea is bad and you are looking to re-enforce that belief. By asking almost ridiculous questions as to why would someone who is physically deformed be ostracized by their community, all you have to do is look in our own community to find our curious stares and non-acceptance when we are faced with a challenged individual.
On a cheery note the musical was fantastic and once they work out a few kinks I truly hope it gets produced.