Julie Jensen is that rare playwright, Utah-based or not, who uses history as a vehicle for larger explorations about culture and society. "Two-Headed," her play about Mormon women Lavinia and Hettie who find themselves at odds even as they remain friends throughout a frontier history that includes the notorious Mountain Meadow Massacre, is as rigorous an exploration of history and psychology as it is a dramatic study in character development.
Don't let the fact that Jensen's script stretches across 40 years, revisiting its characters every decade from age 10. At only 70 minutes, this two-character play is as swift as it is expansive. For this special production by the Utah State University theater arts department 10 women have been cast to play the two characters at different stages over each scene, something that's never been done in the history of the play. Gracing each scene as set design will be footage from Brian Patrick's film "Burying the Past: Legacy of the Mountain Meadow Massacre."
Director Lynda Linford said in press materials that the play "is about the struggle to survive your genealogy, be it good or bad. The public should come see this play because it is intense, inspirational and revealing. It's a play that will truly make you think." Patrick's film will receive a free screening April 19, 6 p.m. at USU's Performance Hall prior to that Thursday's presentation of Jensen's play.