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Sent on Mormon-News: 04Sep01

By Kent Larsen

Mormon Actor Helps Lampoon Utah LDS Culture in 'Saturday's Voyeur'

ROY, UTAH -- The Salt Lake Acting Company's annual lampoon of all things Utah, including the local LDS culture and influence in the state, has again graced the stage, but this year, in an usual move, the play includes an active LDS actor. Rock H. White is described in a Salt Lake Tribune profile this week as a "New Mormon," an active church member who is liberal, open minded, and who didn't attend BYU.

White lives in Roy Utah, where he is an active member of the Roy Eighth ward, where he is music coordinator and teaches in the Elder's Quorum. He is also a returned missionary, a drama teacher, and a performing arts graduate of Weber State University who has appeared in local musicals such as the Utah Memorial Theatre's production of "Oklahoma" and Sundance Theatre's "The Music Man."

But while White says he is devoted to the Church, he says he is also embarrassed by the behavior of some Church members, "In [Saturday's Voyeur] they pinpoint those people that I, as a missionary, would cringe about," White says. "They make fun of people that use sacred things to impress people or to try to control, instead of letting people choose the right on their own. There have been a few bishops in my life growing up in the church who made stupid mistakes that affected my family. I know they are human, but some of the things they do are embarrassing, or strange. It's easy for me to re-create on those people." White says he hasn't received any negative feedback from his ward or from his bishop, but he says that some of his relatives are shocked that he is in a show that "mocks our people and our church."

Saturday's Voyeur is a long-running annual production of the Salt Lake Acting Company, which has used the show, almost always sold-out for its several month-long run, as a fund raiser for the group. The name of the show is itself a take-off on the name of the popular, but critically-panned LDS musical "Saturday's Warrior," and LDS themes have always been a part of the show. This year's show, written by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht, pokes fun at Utah's pornography czar, Paula Houston, as well as the often-fuzzy line between church and state. It includes references to LDS cultural emblems like Jell-o, wedding receptions in LDS basketball courts and the recent controversy over the sale of a block-long section of main street in Salt Lake City to the LDS Church.

White plays a self-righteous LDS Bishop and representative who is a pornography crusader. However, the character is less-than-saintly, lying and using coercion to get his objectives. While White says he's not comfortable with everything in the play, he says its important for Mormons to take a different look at themselves, "There are a couple of lines in the show that I still cringe at every night. The show doesn't squash any sacred cows, but there are brief moments where they push the line pretty far for comedy's sake. But I do feel that a show like this is great for both members of the LDS church and non-members to see if you are willing to laugh at yourself. It's a healthy bit of medicine for LDS people to see what we look like to other citizens of this state."


Mormon Actor Finds Utah's World a Fitting Stage for Satire
Salt Lake Tribune 1Sep01 A2
By Celia Baker: Salt Lake Tribune


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