Goodman Theatre presents the World Premiere of LUNA GALE.
As a licensed social worker in the State of Indiana, I marveled at how perfectly Playwright Rebecca Gilman’s story reflected ‘the system.’ Gilman pens a complex tale about a baby placed in foster care. The best interest of the child is at the heart of the show. But who knows best? The teenage parents do crystal meth. The grandmother is a ‘crazy christian.’ The social worker has concerns for Luna’s childhood in either home.
Gilman goes completely gray. This isn’t a black and white issue. It never is. Each of Gilman’s characters are both likable and damaged. Everyone has an opinion and an agenda. We see the potential danger in all scenarios. The characters are terrifically flawed humans. Gilman weaves their backstories masterfully into subtle yet big reveals.
Director Robert Falls takes her script and expertly orchestrates it with heavy-duty authenticity. In the lead, Mary Beth Fisher (Caroline) holds court. The sharp Fisher plays a questionable do-gooder. She impressively juggles her caseload and her bias. Throughout this drama, nuggets of comedy gold materialize between the veteran Fisher and her pompous supervisor Erik Hellman (Cliff). The smooth- talking Hellman inspires suspicious from his first bureaucratic appearance. His zesty interactions with Fisher are continually marred with boundary issues.
The cast is sublime. They give this show a genuine feel. They effectively make us care about them. In particular, an agitated Reyna de Courcy (Karlie) engages as a determined mother. De Courcy resembles a ‘jumping out of my skin’ user. De Courcy’s description of a crystal meth high is heart-breaking. Her baby’s daddy, Colin Sphar, endears as a big lug. In one of the most haunting moments, Sphar recalls Karlie’s past to her mom. While he tells this vivid tale, he is humming to his own daughter. The contrast is unforgettable.
LUNA GALE is an important new work. The story, the direction, the acting are stellar. And if that’s not enough, Scenic Designer Todd Rosenthal has constructed a revolving set. The moving scenery makes the multiple scene transitions quick and efficient. The attention to detail for the house, the office, the apartment, the restaurant, the daycare, the break room legitimatize the action. In addition, Rosenthal covers his dynamic set with a slanted ceiling of nasty florescent lights and office panels. The look is amazing.
Running Time: Two hours and fifteen minutes includes an intermission
At Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn
Written by Rebecca Gilman
Directed by Robert Falls
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays at 7:30pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays at 2pm
Thru February 23rd
Buy Tickets at www.goodmantheatre.org
Production photograph by Liz Lauren