Playwright Rebecca Gilman is astounding. Her play Luna Gale directed by Robert Falls is a nail biting family drama. The play follows a small family’s dilemma, and how they are trying to find what is best for their child Luna Gale. Suddenly, buried secrets are arising and the Story line’s chaos begins to unravel. We learn that people have been abused, but whom? This is where Luna Gale begins. And when you think the situation is changing for the better? It has only just begun.
Luna gale is the infant’s name. Luna has two disoriented parents who are addicted to meth. Her mother, Karlie (Reyna de Courcy, is phenomenal. In the opening scene she brings disturbing movements such as twitches, and a loud choppy conversation that dramatically shows she has issues. An actress who manages to tell so much by so little is remarkable.) is fighting to give her child the best life. When hearing she is in the arms of her mother Cindy (Jordan Baker, a religious fanatic who is so despicable she’ll give you the shakes with her obscurity; she is convinced that Karlie is a failure.) She becomes uneasy and furious. Peter (Colin Shaper, is grand his small humor with grammar is hilarious, here and there lightens up the mood in such eerie setting between the whole custody battle of Luna. He manages to break the ice with his dumb remarks completely off topic.) is just as mad as Karlie about the situation. The audience is left wondering why Karlie and Peter have so much hatred towards Karlie’s mother. Caroline (Mary Beth Fisher, what an actress she can truly captivate the whole room with no struggle.) senses something is wrong in the family as well. But who is she to question the mother, who is the best possible guardian due to her parent’s addictions? She has been working in the Foster Care System for most her life. Something’s up, all this secrecy seems to be a potential issue. But sometimes to uncover something about someone else we must reveal something about ourselves that we have managed to hide for so long.
The Albert Theatre at the Goodman never ceases to amaze me. Todd Rosenthal set designer, knows what he is doing and does it well. The stage was well thought out. As the story moved from place to place, the stage rotated to reveal a social worker’s office, a home, etc. very compelling. When the set rotates, I interpret the new stage as another turning point in the character’s lives. The family is all fighting for Luna’s life, and yes it is daunting but that is life sometimes. The spinning of the stage portrays how life does not stop, no matter how many times you screw it all up. A problem I saw with the direction of Robert was that awkward moment where I saw fisher changing into a blazer on the side of the stage. Was this necessary? No. They had a big stage she could have easily been directed to change behind scenes, and her entrance could have been even suspenseful.
“Time does us good” speaking for Rebecca here she worked on it while Hurricane Katrina had just hit. The wait was worth it. Gilman is marvelous. She achieves diversity in her writing by taking real life experiences, and putting them in her play. Gilman definitely knows what she is doing. I would suggest that next time she does not make her drama so predictable. Luna Gale’s dramatic storyline reminded me in moments of a soap opera. The drama in soap opera eventually gets boring and you are just waiting for it to end sometimes. Luna Gale had that effect after a while the suspense was no longer awing, but unexciting. One other complication is Lourdis (Melissa Durprey, annoyingly naïve, but managed to serve her purpose on how life after Foster Care is difficult.) possibly reconsidering her character. Gilman should either make her character stronger, or cut her out. Lourdis threw me off; I was to focused in on the family that her scenes where just pointless to me and misleading.
Luna Gale is memorable. The emotional feelings the characters leave you with are overwhelming. The play displays common hardships such as drugs and abuse, both of which are topics that are often buried or overlooked by family in order to avoid their controversial nature. Rebecca Gilman avoids nothing; she puts everything out there showing reality as it is.