Luna Gale a play written by Rebecca Gilman currently being performed at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Luna Gale’s story covers the struggles a social worker has to deal with when faced with the difficult decision as to where to place the child of two meth addicts – either with the parents who are struggling to change or with the overbearing grandmother.
Gilman’s play paints a picture of an imperfect, broken foster care system that is heartbreaking, yet utterly realistic. It begs the question of whether or not talking a child away from their parents is always the right choice. This situation reaches a head when, soon after taking Luna into her care, Cindy (the grandmother, played by Jordan Baker) decides that she wants to permanently terminate the rights of Karlie and Peter, Luna’s rightful parents, played by Reyna de Courcy and Colin Sphar, respectively. The social worker, Caroline (played by Mary Beth Fisher) explains that “reunification is the goal,” and we as an audience are forced to examine what that really means.
The performance by Mary Beth Fisher as Caroline Cox is arguably the strongest of the ensemble. Her voice perfectly fits that of a social worker – it had just the right tinge of sympathy mixed with authority. Even when the scene was not explicitly focused on her character, Fisher stayed in character, performing small, subtle actions fitting of a social worker who is struggling to stay up to date. Fisher’s performance held an actively raw energy full of emotion that consistently aligned with someone who was working hard to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves – an idea presented as a futile and losing battle.
We give this performance a rating of 5 out of 5 stars – a truly astounding performance that is bound to keep one’s attention throughout with the solid performances and clever, realistic dialogue.
By Crystal Davalos and Barbara Cruz, Hancock Juniors
Luna Gale by Rebecca Gilman was presented at The Goodman Theatre on Wednesday, February 5, 2014. Luna Gale is an impactful play that addresses social issues in our time period. Luna Gale tells the story of two teenage parents, Karlie (Reyna de Couray) and Peter (Colin Sphar), who battle a challenging drug addiction – methamphetamine. Since Karlie and Peter are drug addicts, Child Protective Services become alarmed that they are incapable of taking care of their child, Luna Gale. Caroline (Mary Beth Fisher), the case worker for Child Protective Services, gets called to the emergency when Luna gets sick. She confronts Karlie about her meth addiction and determines that Luna must be removed from their care. This intervention will define Luna Gale’s fate. Caroline meets with Cindy (Jordan Gale) who is Luna’s grandmother. She is an Evangelical Christian who believes her daughter, Karlie, and the father of the child, Peter, are horrible example for her granddaughter. She believes the power of the Cross will give her granddaughter a much better life, as opposed to her being raised in an environment that involves drug addiction and a lack of a financial status.
Gilman’s play raises the question, “What makes a good parent?” by asking whether a good parents is defined by financial status, religion, or trouble with addictions. This is shown by difference between Evangelical Christian, Cindy, who has a stable job as a nurse’s assistant and the drug addicts, Karlie and Peter. Although both Karlie and Peter are addicts, they show they treasure and love their child. They show their efforts to change by Peter getting a job, and both getting outside help for their meth addiction. The clear love they have for their daughter fills the audience with compassion. It also makes the audience think about defining a good parent according to society’s and their own beliefs.
Over all, Luna Gale is an outstanding play that should be watched. It will shock you and keep you entertained with mature and intellectual thinking.
By Elvis Martinez, Hancock Senior
These reviews were written in Sarah Baranoff's drama classes through a partnership with the Goodman Theatre's Student Subscription Series.
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