chapter  4
35 Pages

Turks: Appropriating Ethnicity

A political satire about Irishmen, Mormons, and suffragettes, Deseret Deserted; or, The Last Days of Brigham Young. Being a Strictly Business Transaction, in Four Acts and Several Deeds, Involving Both Prophet and Loss is a melodramatic spoof by the Moon Club that played at Wallack’s Theatre for the entire summer season of 1858 (starting in May). Based on its success, it was published that year by Samuel French in an acting edition. The story follows the adventures of Looney O’Flab, Tom Scott, and Lucifer “Looy” Sparks. The three friends are following the trail of Sparks’ wife, who ran away to join the Mormons. Once in Salt Lake City, they witness a secret temple ceremony, rescue their women, sing and dance, and incite a riot. Their exploits are interrupted only by a drunken dream of Brigham Young that makes up the second act. The play ends with a death scene worthy of Shakespeare and the necessary intervention of the stage manager to help get all the dead bodies (including that of Young) off of the stage before the inauguration of a “Republic of Women.”