Pilot Program: A Student Directed Play on Polygamy in 2018

In 1852, a minority of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy, but the practice soon ended before the 20th century. But what if polygamy were reinstated in the 21st century?

Justin Stockett, a senior theatre arts major from Orem, expanded on this idea by directing, “Pilot Program: A Supposition” by Melissa Larson. This was the first time Stockett was able to direct a full-length play and said he enjoyed having the creative freedom.

“It was refreshing in a way because suddenly I have an independent vision and I am the sole person responsible for executing it,” Stockett said.

Stockett has known he wanted to direct this particular play for a while.

“I first read the script two and a half years ago before it was published,” Stockett said. “Once it got published I read it again and said, ‘this is the story I want to tell.’”

This student-directed play had a three-member cast: Amber Tanae as Abigail, Ben Cozzens as Jacob and Natalene Rehan as Heather.

Jacob receives a calling from the church to bring back polygamy with his wife Abigail, as a pilot program. After being married for 14 years without conceiving a child, Abigail felt it was right to accept the calling and find a sister-wife.

“Abigail’s story is just so interesting because it mirrors a lot of the women I know,” Stockett said. “Because they made a choice in their life. And it’s not an unhappy decision, they are happy, but watching that choice happen they just wonder where it could have gone had they not made that choice.”

Over the course of the play, Abigail has to see if she has enough faith in her religion to be able to welcome a sister-wife into her household and learn how to adapt when Jacob and Heather  start a family.

“At the end of the show Abigail is led to the question she has in her life, and I don’t know what the answer is and I specifically didn’t want to know what the answer was,” Stockett said. “She just had the question. And I feel like it is really important for every audience member to answer that question. Which is, was this the right decision?”

For more information on the rest of the student-directed plays featured the rest of spring semester please visit https://www.suu.edu/pva/.


Story by
Cassidy Harmon

Photo Credit
Mitch Quartz