The Mormon Bird Play (Sketches for an Allegorical Dream)

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Photograph: Andrew Giammarco
The Mormon Bird Play

Ivona (Jose Dao), a young mute girl, arrives in Salt Lake City and is befriended by a group of kids, which changes the dynamics among them and brings painful truths to the surface as they prepare her for baptism as a Mormon. Playwright-director Roger Benington has written a smart, rich script, with gripping characters and a fascinating use of fantasy elements. Although the actors do great work portraying children, I'm not sure why the cast is exclusively male, and some moments in the play may be overly abstract; a scene involving four 19th-century Mormon women and a dead newborn is thematically apt but seems out of place in the overall story. Still, this a thoughtful piece of work, with lines that fly like poetry but stay beautifully grounded in the events of the play.—Michael Gabriel Torres

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