More than 10 years ago, I saw “Accommodations” at BYU, a family drama by Eric Samuelsen. This play blew my mind because it was my first encounter with a Mormon literary work that seemed authentic and provocative, in addition to featuring great dialogue and characters. From there, I went on to discover other worthwhile Mormon novels, stories, and plays that operate outside the usual Mormon safety zone.
Last night, I saw the latest Samuelsen play at BYU, the generically named “Family.” As in “Accommodations,” this new play revolves around a family with adult children gathered home in a time of crisis. I really like it, because the characters are so distinct and everyone is struggling with issues of faith and self-identity. Samuelsen just plain writes great dialogue, and he lets his characters demonstrate doubt, worldliness, and other human flaws. Plus, there's lots of humor.
The play only runs through March 19 at BYU, but I understand the script will be published soon in Sunstone magazine. I wish a bigger crowd would see this kind of play.