It can be difficult not to give too much away when writing about a show, especially one like "The Tricky Part."

After reading the script I had some questions for playwright Martin Moran, questions theatergoers will likely ask themselves after seeing the show. So hang on to this and read it after the show.

SPOILER ALERT: The following conversation reveals some plot points in "The Tricky Part."

Deseret News: I read your story and felt angry — angry for that 12-year-old boy. Where's your anger? You went back to visit him (the abuser), and I wanted you to really let him have it, and you didn't. What happened?

Moran: I think again there's this territory of complexity and part of that was this experience of empathy for this fragile, screwed-up guy. And I think that part of the discovery for me, too, was, "I don't hate you — there was still a kindness there." I didn't even know where these things were coming from.

There are times, too, when I'm still angry as can be. Again, that's the amazing thing: The anger is true and totally valid and the warmth and compassion are also true. One doesn't cancel the other out. They both exist and they're both true.

Deseret News:: You just seemed so nice and understanding.

Moran: It's not black and white. When we live in black and white, we shelve things. The reality is that humanity and understanding and growth, I think, glimpse what is in the gray area. I guess it's what I keep coming back to.

The play is really devoted to complexity. In that way, the play is a vehicle for compassion.

Deseret News:: One of the hardest parts for me was as you were leaving, you turned around and waved at him. You waved as if to make it all OK. Why? I felt really bothered by that.

Moran: I can understand that, I really can. All I can say is, you know, I just happened to. I look at myself sometimes and I go, "Ever the boy from Christ the King. Ever the one wanting to take care and make things OK." Even though they're not. Maybe on another day and another time I wouldn't have done that.

Deseret News:: So, why did you go?

Moran: I think that there was a sense of confrontation somewhere inside of me, mostly in my head, there was a sense of "I just want to lay eyes on the evidence." I want to look him in the eyes and say, "This happened," and do this for the 12 year old.

Of course I never really got an all-out remorseful apology. There were hints of it — he's a screwed-up guy.

Deseret News:: Did it help, seeing him?

Moran: When I did see him I think what happened was I realized, more than anything else, how he was beside the point. That the primary relationship in life is with one's self. As long as I Iet him have power over me, then it was about him.

Seeing him, just shrank him to his proper proportion rather than this mythical mountain. Now he was this shriveled up, sad, pathetic man. "... I'm obsessed with this loser. It's about ourselves, our relationship with ourselves. It was about bringing him down to size in my eyes."

Deseret News:: So you've really forgiven this man?

Moran: It's so fluid, those feelings. They're never totally shelved. It's an ongoing thing in life. It's like forgiveness is an ongoing prayer — it's not a one-time act. Those feelings still come up — it's like a prayer or mantra of meditation. "God allow me to move toward forgiveness today. Allow me to forgive." It's an ongoing calling.

And I think and I'm still in it, even though I've written a play and a book, there are still days that it's a very alive question.

Deseret News:: As a parent, your story terrifies me. What's your advice on what parents can do to protect their children?

Moran: It starts with awareness and engagement on the part of the parents. My parents are good people, but they were disengaged. Kids from troubled homes are looking for attention and engagement. I think it's just incredible because people like Bob (the abuser) they just have a radar for needy kids.

I wanted attention. My father was drinking, my mother had psychiatric problems. But even kids who aren't from broken homes — I think it's just a call to parents to be engaged with kids. Be with them, eat dinner, talk to them. Be with them.

Deseret News:: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Moran: St. Ignatious used to say, "Finding God in all things," and I think that's the tricky part. What are you referring to? ... I look at Bob, I look at him and wonder, is it possible to see the face of God in Bob?

And I guess I'll just leave you with that thought.


E-mail: ehansen@desnews.com