Student plays off of LDS culture

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    By MARY FLEMING

    The first student play to ever win in the Mormon Arts Festival for best original play will be performed in the Harris Fine Arts Center beginning Monday.

    The Play was written and directed by BYU students

    “Great Gardens,” written by Joshua Brady, from Martinez, Calif., a senior majoring in theater arts, is one of four of Brady’s plays to be produced at BYU. One of these, “Joyce Baking,” was distinguished by being one of only two student-written plays in BYU’s history to ever be performed on the main stage at BYU. The other student play was written by Orson Scott Card, Brady said.

    “Great Gardens” takes the audience with a Latter-day Saint family who goes out to celebrate the recent return of their daughter from a mission. The place of celebration is none other than an all-you-can-eat salad bar, Brady said.

    Director Elary Allen, a senior from San Diego majoring in theater said the play is easy to identify with.

    “We enjoy seeing Mormons on stage. We don’t see it very often. We can understand the interaction between the family members.”

    The family consists of a daughter and her fiancee, a lazy teenage son and another son who is inactive in the church, Brady said.

    “Brady doesn’t pretend he isn’t Mormon,” Allen said. He can love the people and still find fault and humor in the LDS society and culture.

    The family is unable to get a table and is forced to eat at the counter in a single-file line, Brady said. And this is where the whole play takes place. The audience enjoys the complete 90-minute meal with the family.

    Brady said when he writes plays, he does it for specific people. Since he’s been surrounded by the LDS culture for so many years, he writes to them.

    “When I have something to say, I say it to the Mormons. They’re the ones I care about,” Brady said.

    Because the entire play transpires in the restaurant, the show entertains through the communication of the characters, Allen said.

    “It’s not a technical show. The plot comes through the characters and their dialogue.”

    Brady said this serious comedy deals with forgiveness within families. It shows their struggle as they strive to forgive themselves and others. He said he hopes those who see the show will ponder how they forgive, or don’t, and can become more compassionate.

    “Great Gardens” shows in room F201 in the HFAC April 5, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m. There is also a matinee April 10 at 2 p.m. Admission is free and donations are accepted.

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