LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS
Claire and Brennan have been best friends for years. But when the two are brought back together after two years apart, Claire wonders if the feelings she has for Brennan might go beyond friendship.
Winner of the 2009 Association for Mormon Letters Drama award. Little Happy Secrets is featured as one of the plays in the Peculiar Pages anthology Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project and is also available in Mel’s own debut publication, Third Wheel: Peculiar Stories of Mormon Women in Love.
In 2009, Leilani Productions partnered with New Play Project to attempt an experiment: an audio version of the play that was released in podcast form. Over the years, people have continually asked to hear it, so you can listen to it here. Please note that it's a large file; depending on your internet connection, it may need to buffer before it begins.
Featuring Laurel Sandberg-Armstrong as Claire; Katherine Gee as Brennan; Kevin Goertzen as Carter: and
Lindsy Adamson as Natalie. Directed by James Goldberg; recorded by Steven Gashler; engineered and edited by Owen Merkling; produced by Melissa Leilani Larson. This recording was the first public performance of Little Happy Secrets; since it was made, there have been revisions to the play, but the majority of the text is intact.
“What a gorgeous and heart wrenching play. I was totally sucked in by Claire and the impossible situation she is in with her best friend. Reading the play I laughed and cried more than once. Larson uses beautiful language and a sparse style of stroy telling that kept me gripped by LITTLE HAPPY SECRETS from start to finish. Highly recommend both reading and producing this play, we need more plays like it being done across the country!”
– Playwright Rachel Bublitz, on the New Play Exchange
“Little Happy Secrets gives the Mormon world a fresh glimpse at the naked truth of our propensity to marginalize each other, and our struggles to reconcile ourselves with a world where secrecy is often valued over individuality…. [F]rom the rubble of a bygone era, Little Happy Secrets emerges with intimate moments of honesty rarely seen in narrative depictions of Mormon life.” – Andy Andersen, Student Review
“Larson has written a play, not a polemic. If anything, the play is a celebration, of a culture rooted in compassion, of a plan that requires heartbreak and loss and pain. A celebration of heartbreak. Larson writes dialogue with a directness and simple eloquence, in which the characters move from conversations with each other to a larger conversation with the audience and, through us, with Mormonism itself.”
– Association for Mormon Letters 2009 Drama Award citation
“Mormon audiences need a play like Little Happy Secrets to open the sorts of conversations that good art can…. This is a play that pushes some of the darkness into the light, gently and authentically, and in so doing shows a love and respect for those who struggle—both those that struggle with homosexuality, and those that struggle with those strugglers.” – Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University professor
“Having read and seen a considerable amount of contemporary Mormon drama, it is my opinion that Little Happy Secrets ranks among the best, and is certainly among the very best works by female Mormon playwrights (of which there are far too few).” – Callie Oppedisano, Utah Theatre Bloggers
“It’s the kind of play that makes half of the small audience cry for all the right reasons, without even a hint of saccharin…. I’d say that this play alone could redeem Mormon play/screenwriting as a genre.”
– eris91, Young Mormon Feminists
“I found Little Happy Secrets incredibly touching. It is an honest, heartfelt portrayal of the turmoil that can only be experienced when forces as deeply ingrained as sexuality and faith collide.”
– Ben Christensen, Front Row Reviewers
“Little Happy Secrets unpacks the painful and bittersweet romance between two women in a play so honest that the ache of Melissa Leilani Larson’s work feels utterly familiar.” – Dale Thompson, Artists of Utah’s 15 Bytes
“Little Happy Secrets…is a brave, open play about same-sex attraction, relationships, grief, suicide, family and what it looks like to struggle silently in our BYU/Mormon community. It encouraged me to think we might be on the brink of more openness, more storytelling, less secrets, more honesty.”
– C. Jane Kendrick, writer & blogger, cjanekendrick.com