Play portrays pioneers through children's eyes

Retelling pioneer experiences from the perspective of children, performers paid tribute to early Church members - including Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley's grandmother - through dance and song Feb. 19.

The performance was part of a pioneer-style dinner held to inform government and community leaders about this year's sesquicentennial celebrations. Sister Hinckley and her husband, President Gordon B. Hinckley, attended the "Sesquicentennial Night of Reflection," which President Hinckley addressed. (See separate article on this page.) The event was held on the 26th floor of the Church Office Building.Sister Hinckley was invited to join the performers on the stage after they recounted her grandmother's journey, as part of an original play, "Reflection on the Children's Voices," by Betty Larsen. Narrators in the production played the part of a grandmother teaching her granddaughter about the pioneers and their epic journey west. Other performers recounted the stories of pioneer children and portrayed their feelings.

"My name is Mary Goble," said actress Alyson Breinholt as she portrayed Sister Hinckley's grandmother. "I was 13 when we left our home in England to start our long journey to this valley."

During the journey west, Mary Goble watched two sisters and a brother die, while she suffered from severe hunger and frostbite. But her worst challenge would come the day her family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Sister Breinholt explained.

Portraying Mary, Sister Breinholt said, "My sweet mother, whom I dearly loved, died between the little and big mountains. It was the same day we arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. When Brigham Young saw our condition with our feet frozen and our mother dead, tears rolled down his cheeks. . . . Oh, I don't know how we stood it!"

The narrator explained that Mary grew up, married and had several children, including a son, Roy Pay. He in turn had a daughter, Marjorie Pay - today known as Marjorie Pay Hinckley.

Utah community, government, business and religious leaders, which filled the room to capacity, gave Sister Hinckley a standing ovation as she took a seat on stage, next to the narrators who had told Mary Goble's story.

"I don't know how we stood it," sang Sister Breinholt, portraying the young pioneer. "Yet here we are, here we are."

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