Deseret Morning News, Friday, April 20,
'Facing East' delves
into diversity and love
Ivan M. Lincoln
Deseret Morning News
FACING EAST, Plan-B
Theatre Company, Rose Wagner Center, through May 6 (355-2787),
running time: 75 minutes (no intermission)
Carol Lynn Pearson's "Facing East" — a moving and straightforward
look at an LDS couple reeling from the suicide of their
excommunicated homosexual son — is ready for its close-up.
After this brief encore presentation of Pearson's slightly revised
script, Plan-B will take "Facing East" (with the same cast) on a
two-city, bicoastal tour for engagements off Broadway and in San
Just as it did last November during the drama's world premiere (in a
slightly larger Rose Wagner Center venue), "Facing East" packs a
wallop, with a strong message about diversity and unconditional
Director Jerry Rapier draws riveting performances from his three
fine actors — Charles Lynn Frost and Jayne Luke as Alex and Ruth
McCormick, the deceased man's bereaved parents, and Jay Perry as
Marcus, their son's partner.
The setting is a cemetery shortly after the funeral for Andrew Isaac
McCormick, 25, who has shot himself in a flower bed next to the Salt
Lake LDS Temple. (Was he making a "statement"? Maybe. Maybe not.)
Alex, a prominent, conservative radio personality whose "One-Minute
Dad" program is about to go big-time nationwide, is adamant that he
and Ruth conduct an impromptu funeral service at their son's
gravesite, because the funeral "in the cookie-cutter brick chapel"
was a big lie.
Ruth vents her own guilt during the process, feeling that it may
have been something hormonal that made their son gay.
Marcus shows up during the final third of the drama, hoping no one
would be there and he could spend some time alone.
During a series of flashbacks — with all three players taking on the
role of Andrew at some point — there are powerful and poignant
insights into Andrew growing up and feeling different from others.
There is finger-pointing all-around. Marcus blames the McCormicks'
church for Andrew's problems but admits that he loves Andrew's
parents "for all the good things you taught your son."
Pearson has added one short scene about 30 minutes into the action —
an insightful flashback where Alex and his son talk about about a
family deer hunt. (Pearson will be present for post-show discussions
on May 3-5.)
Sensitivity rating: The subject matter may be a little
uncomfortable for some but there is nothing offensive in the