"Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life..."
Alma 5:24

How is the show performed?

In its original form, the show is staged theatrically, as described below. However, it may also be performed in a concert or fireside format with soloists and choir. The score is orchestrated for at least a sixteen piece ensemble. A minus track of the orchestral accompaniment will be available.

In the theatrical staging, Nephi’s set consists only of a table and chair, metal plates, and records, and various other props suggesting a room where Nephi writes. It is located down stage-right or may be built out from the proscenium stage-right.

Nephi himself is middle-aged; the point at which he is recording his life history, the Book of Nephi. Nephi moves about but never leaves his room or “set” as he narrates his own life story by reading and reciting from his own writings. He addresses the audience as if they are his future readers, real to him, as he has seen them in vision.

An ensemble of twenty-five performers portrays the other men and women of Nephi’s account including an actor/soloist who portrays Nephi himself as a young man. This ensemble act as choir and soloists as well as portray various characters in a presentational style. We see them as Nephi is recalling them in his memory; thus the scenes depicted are not meant to be literal reenactments, with all the accompanying props, sets, and blocking but are rather suggestive glimpses into Nephi’s memory. A scrim divides the “backstage” from the action out front, suggestive of memory also. It is a transparent material so that with lighting, what is behind it is either hidden or revealed. It should actually be made of varying strips or widths so that actors can pass through it as they make their entrances and exits. The ensemble is positioned in such a way (behind the scrim) until “called” into action.

One of these actors portrays the Angel and a platform for his entrances and scenes, of the highest elevation on stage, should stand opposite Nephi’s at stage left, or some other means of suggesting height or lift may be designed.

Choral parts are included in the vocal arrangements of several pieces. The ensemble of actors should learn and sing all choral parts and may act as the whole choir themselves, or an actual choir may be cast in addition to the ensemble of actors. Either way, the ensemble of actors should learn and sing the choral parts. All singers can be positioned upstage behind the scrim or with the orchestra on the floor. They do not hold music and should not be costumed in such a way as to represent angels or heavenly beings, but are dressed in a neutral way complimentary to the ensembles’ basic costume.

From his position on stage, Nephi never observes the action of the ensemble or musicians but is usually intent on reading or writing when their action takes stage and his narration is suspended. For more specifics on blocking, see “How is the show staged?”

Dialogue and narrative cues are designated in the score at critical musical junctures. The actors, particularly Nephi, should rehearse with careful reference to the written score and audible underscoring so as to establish the appropriate pace and expression. Much relies on the interplay between the musical director and the actor playing Nephi.

copyright © 2007 Nephi Story