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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Manti Mormon Miracle Pagean Opens, Called 'Flowery'
BYU NewsNet 19Jun00 A3
By Marilyn Lau: NewsNet Staff Writer

MANTI, UTAH -- The Mormon Miracle Pageant, held each year on the grounds of the LDS Temple in Manti, Utah, opens today, running through June 24th. But BYU Newsnet's Marilyn Lau says the while Manti itself is fun, the pageant is too "flowery."

The pageant presents the history of the Restoration, telling how Joseph Smith received the First Vision and was given the golden plates, from which he translated the Book of Mormon. It also depicts the westward movement of the Mormons till they arrive in Utah.

But Lau calls the script, "over-dramatic," and says it "shadows the sweet and simple story of the Restoration." "Verbose and flowery language describes the action of the play, using phrases like "spiritual ecstasy," "ideal utopia" and "malarial infestation." Lau continues, "This type of dramatic dialogue takes away from the aesthetic experience the audience is supposed to enjoy. The audience is jarred from their suspension of disbelief to laugh at the awkwardness of the language."

Lau also takes issue with the "artistic liberty" taken in the script, such as the virgin sacrifice that the pageant depicts and the Indian chief that helps Brigham Young decide to provide men for the Mormon Battalion. She is also bothered by the choice of music for the pageant, saying that in many scenes it "barely correlates with the action." "Eerie, Twilight-Zone-like music plays in the background of such scenes as the reunion of pioneers Robert and Mary Kenshaw in the Spirit World."

Lau concludes, "The Joseph Smith story is true. However, the presentation leaves little room for the Spirit to abide. The truths of the gospel need to be uncovered from the theatrics of the pageant."


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