Autumn 2021 – Drama

The Mormons

‘PASTEL

But John, my spirit! It was a calling in my spirit that there’s some unrighteousness afoot in the church, John, and it needs a tender weeding to resurrect the trueness, John, the principles of Christ. If we’re to follow, John, we must follow Christ. I simply made a motion to return to Christ.

JOHN

Right you are, baby blue. Back to Christ. Choo-choo.

PASTEL

Well, if they think they can stop good ol’ Pastel Harmony from Heavenly Father, they’ve not but put a hill of beans before is all they’ve done. Not any arduous task at all to get around and worship in the proper tone. Nothing’s to deny ol’ Pastel from falling to her knees-‘

S. T. Brant

In the latest Autumnal Issue, we featured a one-act stage play which gives us a glimpse into the life of an elderly Mormon couple. It is important to note that although they are Mormons, they are not overtly religious or conventional. Their children have moved out after growing up, so their next generation has even less to do with the Mormon part of the family. In fact, this aspect of their identity is only brought out when Pastel receives a letter of excommunication asking her to leave the church. Both hurt and outraged by the actions of the church, the old lady laments as she tries to come to terms with her new reality. She feels lost and confused, finding herself suddenly stripped off her identity.

What is intriguing in this play is how the character of John acts as a perfect foil for the character of Pastel; she gets emotional after reading the letter and descends into her memory lanes reminiscing about the past, whereas John does not depend on religion for his identity. In his own matter of fact manner he responds to all her questions curtly, whether those are ironic retorts or simply brief answers one cannot say, but to viewers he remains rather nonchalant and unaffected throughout. Despite the palpable disparity between the two of them, there is also a certain level of mutual understanding which probably developed over years while they lived together. This results in a volley of back-and-forth dialogues that appear one-dimensional but have the power to actually build and shape characters.

Brant skillfully weaves the theme of the elderly being abandoned by their young and the resulting loneliness with the idea of religion as a soothing shelter as well as the politics that goes on behind the closed walls of a religious institution like a church. At the start of the script, there are set directions which painstakingly detail the whole setting where the scene would take place. This establishes the mood of the play and prepares us for the rather mundane lifestyle that we are soon to be an audience for. What struck us as beautiful as well as inspiring is how ultimately, the play ends on a really tender note of hope and optimism when Pastel admits her love for John, and he returns the gesture sincerely.

Shrubaboti Bose, Guest Editor

Photo by Andrew Scharman from Pexels

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