ASU Student to Stage Controversial Play

ASU student Dustin Goltz goes from Jewish to Mormon to gay
ASU student Dustin Goltz goes from Jewish to Mormon to gay

Goltz: “My play doesn’t stem from hatred or attack”

By Matt Christensen
January 2005

Despite complaints by School of Human Communication faculty at Arizona State University, graduate student Dustin Goltz was finally allowed to stage his controversial one-man show Banging the Bishop: A Latter Day Prophecy. Originally scheduled for October 2004, the play will finally be performed in April.

Robert L. Pela reviewed the play for the Phoenix New Times on May 2002–two years before the ASU controversy. “Bishop details Goltz’s various conversions,” wrote Pela. ” from Jew to Latter-day Saint; from homophobe to homosexual; from callow youth to performance artist. Along the way, he develops a talent for storytelling and — in the truest tradition of performance art — we get to watch him sharpen and polish that skill while he tells us about his life so far.”

“Much of that life was spent in a misguided attempt to escape his homosexuality,” wrote Pela. “In part because he’s in love with an offstage character who’s a Latter-day Saint, the Dusty who tells this story converts from Judaism to Mormonism, reasoning that Mormonism will take him closer to God and further from himself. If he can honor a long litany of Temple covenants, serve a two-year mission, marry a nice Mormon girl and father a houseful of children, he can forget that he’s Jewish and gay. But temptation — in the form of corn dogs, cute missionaries and photographs of Robert Downey Jr. — proves too much for him.”

In an interview with the online student newspaper Web Devil, Goltz said that his play is “about the journey of the body. It exposes how rituals interact with the body and how bodies can be liberated from scars. It deals with issues such as masturbation being an early form of prayer and the influence of the Mormon Chruch on young members.”

When asked whether he felt that his play is offensive, especially to the Mormon religion, Goltz replied: “I think that’s a dangerous question. People say offensive things all the time. All I know is that my play doesn’t stem from hatred or attack. It’s not really aimed at an LDS audience.”

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