LDS Might Get the Wrong Message From This Play

In Highland City, Utah, a predominately LDS city, the play Catholic School Girls will be performed and is being sold as “tons of fun for the whole family!”

However, after watching this excerpt from the play on youtube, I think it may put Catholics in an unfavorable light and I definitely wouldn’t call this tons of fun for anyone’s family. Would you?

How about those comments about Jewish people not welcome in church and that the priest would ask them to leave??!! :eek: :mad:

I couldn’t understand a word of it on the youtube vid. The accent lost me :confused:

Though the video is a couple years old it is a sickening mockery; how would they like if I walked into an LDS ‘church’ and mock the supposed “visions” of Joseph Smith, Jr.? It’s clear to me no group lead by the Holy Spirit would ever condone such a thing.

I was going to say that it was a sickening mockery… But you beat me to it! :smiley:

It was disgustingly disrespectful.

That is disrespectful. Maybe b/c of the broadway play The Book of Mormon (which I haven’t seen) embarasses them, they decided to make fun of someone else as well.

This is disrespectful and misleading.

Highland, Utah is a very LDS community and the audience would be getting lots of misinformation about the Catholic faith.
Jews go to hell…Jews not welcome in our churches…a priest stopping and waiting until the Jewish person leaves the church…I mean really? This is family entertainment? :rolleyes:

The Book of Mormon is playing in New York to a varied audience.

This play is geared towards Mormon families. Even the title is suspect…“Catholic School Girls”.

Where did they dig this play up? I think it played off-Broadway back in the 80’s.

I just watched the video. What is sad is the Mormons really believe those things and much worse about the Catholic Church. I know because I used to be LDS.

You can e-mail the council here:
and let them know you don’t think mocking another religion is 100% appropriate or TONS of fun.

Wait - I’m lost. Can someone tell me what, exactly, this has to do with Mormons? The Highland City Arts Council website doesn’t seem to have anything to do with mormons, that video doesn’t either.

From what I can tell, (and their website is rather poorly designed and offers few hints) this is some sort of travelling acting/arts troupe thing, based in or around American Fork Utah.

Is there some sort of tie to mormons that I’m missing here? Or is it just that everyone knows Utah is full of mormons, so obviously we have something to do with this?

(For the record, some chick standing on a stage making fun of Catholics in front of a guffawing audience isn’t exactly anything I’m interested in…)

Hi NeuroTypical - The only connection with Mormons, that I can tell, it that it is playing in a very LDS community and would therefore possibly attract Mormons as an audience.

From what I can tell, (and their website is rather poorly designed and offers few hints) this is some sort of travelling acting/arts troupe thing, based in or around American Fork Utah.

I have searched high and low for info regarding them. Where did you find that they are a traveling arts group?

Is there some sort of tie to mormons that I’m missing here? Or is it just that everyone knows Utah is full of mormons, so obviously we have something to do with this?

My concern is that anyone going to see the play, and let’s be honest it is in Utah County, will come away with the wrong impression of the Catholic Church.

(For the record, some chick standing on a stage making fun of Catholics in front of a guffawing audience isn’t exactly anything I’m interested in…)

I agree, it looks terrible. I can’t imagine anyone digging this script out from who-knows-where and giving it any play time.

Unfortunately, it is playing for seven nights and billed as TONS of fun for the whole family.

Here is a review of the play from from 1993:

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Catholic School Girls
By Stephanie Shaw

Act Now Productions

at Cafe Voltaire

It’s the early 60s. Catholic schoolgirls wear plaid, respond to air raid drills with panicked squeals about communism, and are mercilessly browbeaten by sadistic Brides of Christ. They’re taught not to bite down on the Host at Communion (a practice compared to “biting off the leg of the Baby Jesus”), to bow their heads when Jesus’ name is spoken, and to distinguish between a venial sin and a mortal sin. But then John F. Kennedy is assassinated, it occurs to the girls that Jesus was not a Catholic, and they get their periods.

Casey Kurtti’s Catholic School Girls seems meant to be a bittersweet study of growing up under the yoke of Catholicism. It comes across as merely facile, however, trotting out all the cliches and shedding no light on their possible meanings, repercussions, or roots.

This memory play (listless monologues bracket it like tepid afterthoughts) tells the story of four girls who travel together from first to eighth grade in a Catholic school in Yonkers. Most of the nuns are monsters, a perfectly memorized catechism is preferable to honest communication with God, and First Communion is an event commemorated by the gift of a white purse with a silver dollar in it. In these children’s gleeful vision hell is a place that’s “really hot and you sweat a lot and little devils bite you all over.” The girl who in first grade smugly observed that “Jewish people can’t go to heaven–they’re going straight to hell” in eighth grade gets smacked by a nun when she points out that Jesus himself was a Jew.

The play might’ve been interesting if Kurtti had focused more on the kind of slow disillusionment that occurs when one is force-fed faith. But she just touches on the loss of faith, spending the bulk of her time on Catholic high jinks–a nun teaching her seventh-graders feminine hygiene, the girls being warned to leave enough room for the Holy Ghost between them and the boys they’re dancing with, an irrelevant talent show with the girls lip-synching Diana Ross and the Supremes, and a couple of sight gags with a tampon.

So that the girls won’t be completely interchangeable, Kurtti has given them different nationalities (insofar as Catholicism will allow), and each gets a monologue describing her own peculiar difficulties with the parochial system. These range from describing the thwarted urge to wear go-go boots like Nancy Sinatra’s to praying that all the nuns end up at an intensive-care ward in a nearby Catholic hospital.

Whatever gold director Marshall Crawford saw in this pile of dross is not revealed in the Act Now production at Cafe Voltaire. The play doesn’t seem to be about friendship–the girls are extraordinarily fickle in their allegiances to one another. It’s not about Catholicism in any serious way–it just pokes fun at an easy target, especially the faith of 30 years ago, with its lumbering and often hypocritical attitudes. From the amount of Beatles, Dylan, and Donovan played during blackouts one might assume the production was taking a stab at capturing the 60s. Why then would Crawford have undercut the Kennedy assassination by presenting it as a PA announcement by “Sister Rose Gertrude”–obviously a male voice straining into falsetto a la Monty Python?

Susan Kathleen Simpkins, Keleen Lyn McBride, Margit Louise Furseth, and Melissa Jo Pharr as the four friends and the nuns who torment them do the best they can with the material. Each actress manages a truthful moment or two, which helps us to forgive them the lisping, high-pitched voices they use for grades one through four–tones no child in her right mind would ever affect. Simpkins in particular redeems herself: we never see her “acting” when she takes her rubber-faced class clown through an honestly painful monologue about “becoming a woman,” revealing a touching bravado in her character.

Unfortunately I chose to sit on a side of the house that Crawford had chosen to largely ignore. Consequently my view of the talent show, the First Communion, the climactic monologue (in which McBride’s character takes God to task for killing her grandmother), and the semiformal dance consisted mostly of hair and plaid behinds. I’m not usually picky about bad sight lines, but these were outrageous, and in a space as small as Cafe Voltaire there’s no excuse for it. Also inexcusable, and appallingly backward in this day and age, is a remark Crawford makes in his bio, that his actresses are “pure magic . . . three out of every four weeks of the month,” a remark that’s about as funny as a nun teaching feminine hygiene.

Again, what a strange selection for a play promoted as fun for the whole family.

This is such a bizarre selection for a play in Utah County that I can’t get over it. :shrug:

I sent them this email:

"I just watched the disgusting video of the monologue from the play “Catholic School Girls” presented by the LDS community of Highland City , Utah.

As a former Mormon, now Catholic, I am even more ashamed than ever that I was ever part of a cult that routinely mocks other religions.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. The guffaws from the LDS audience were just further evidence of how much of a hateful, bigoted bunch of hicks you are.

Everything that the monologue expressed about Catholicism is completely false, except the part about how it is traditional for Catholics to bow their heads in respect whenever the Savior’s name is spoken. But there is no penalty attached to not bowing the head (unlike the penalties attached to revealing the signs and tokens from the endowment). Of course, you Mormons wouldn’t understand that. You have no idea who Jesus really is.

No wonder your members are leaving in droves.

Proud to be a member of the “Great and Abominable Church”, I remain

Paul Dupre
Huntington Beach, CA

Formerly LDS, now gratefully and happily Catholic."

Not that it will do any good. I just needed to get it off my chest.


Well there are a lot of Mormons in Utah county, Wiki lists the percentage at 88. stats say Highland City is 98 percent LDS. While I think these number are too high, it is still a heavily Mormon area. When you combine heavy LDS population with the fact that religious people volunteer more (my reading on the HC arts council is that it is volunteer) what you have is a council that is primarily, if not exclusively LDS picking a play that mock Catholicism.

Aside, there isn’t eve a Catholic church in Highland City, only in neighboring towns.

Well, it said far more than I ever could. Good response!

Hi everyone!

The youtube video is not from the Highland Arts Council performance. It is an old monologue I found on youtube.

I posted this old video to show the contents of this not-so-family-or-Catholic-friendly play.

I apologize if I confused anyone. The link to the Arts Council shows the upcoming performance dates and I just assumed (and you know what happens when one does that :o)
that readers would know that this play has not yet happened.

Sorry for the confusion!!!

Great job Paul:clapping:

Ok, I’d like to respond to this a bit. I wife and I grew up and spent the first 26 years of our lives in various “primarily mormon” UT areas - Holaday, Riverton, Draper, Sandy. A few things from my experience:

  • Mormons did road shows held in churches, non-lds people did performing art thingies.
  • Mormon volunteering is stuff like road cleanup, Scouting organizations, stuff for sick and afflicted and poor and elderly and widows. Mormon volunteering is not “let’s organize an arts council and put on plays and have a website”.
  • In my inactive years from age 18-26, I had absolutely zero problems finding never-ending sources of non-lds stuff to do, even though I was surrounded by 90%+ people on the rolls of the LDS church. Yes indeed, that included more than a few “alternative art/media” deals.
  • The linked video was from West Springfield, MA. But even if this troupe is putting on the same deal, in my opinion, it’s entirely possible that few or none of the cast, and few or none of the audience, are actually active believing LDS. In fact, in my experience in those areas, negatively-charged events which are strongly critical of religion tend to be peopled with non-LDS, or maybe former angry LDS.

I found that video to be disgraceful. A bunch of ignorant guffawing at another group of people? No thank you. I believe the assumption that cast and audience have to be “primarily, if not exclusively LDS”, just because the organization is based in a heavily LDS area, is unwarranted.

(If you took all the LDS-specific stuff out of zaffiroborant’s letter, I’d basically agree with everything in it.)

Many ex-LDS are opposed to all religion. Having experienced the LDS religion, and having had no experience with anything else, they would prefer to be unquestioning atheists. The LDS culture is implicitly anti-Catholic. (Neuro, don’t ask. I can supply many sources.) Having been shaped by LDS culture, ex-LDS frequently become explicitly anti-Catholic.

So, in some ways, I reluctantly have to agree with Neuro.

events which are strongly critical of religion tend to be peopled with non-LDS, or maybe former angry LDS.

I made no assumptions about the cast, the play is listed as semi-professional for some reason I made the assumption that LDS would not be the actors in a semi-professional production. I don’t know why I assumed that, but maybe I’ve seen glimmerings of the disdain you direct toward the arts from other LDS posters, probably at MD&D. I was talking about the volunteers on the arts council, but apparently LDS hold the arts in such contempt that it would be unthinkable for them to volunteer in the community in such a capacity. Sorry about my presumption, it’s just around here communities put a lot of stock in the arts, among the offerings put together by volunteers in near by communities, an amazing symphony orchestra, a gallery that features local artists and has special shows and a 500 seat theater for plays, concerts and even a student film festival for the regions’ high schools. But I can see you wouldn’t consider these art thingies worthwhile.

This 100% appropriate show is TONS of fun for the entire family!

Tons, really? Who talks like that?

Utahns! Got a problem with that? :D: :stuck_out_tongue:

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