Space 55 Presents Phoenix Premiere of Luna Gale

luna gale 01by Rebecca Rudnyk

Luna Gale, playing at the intimate Space 55 through March 4, is gritty, powerful and profoundly topical.

Set amongst the cultural awakening of the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, and unable to ignore the ideological political perspectives that certainly divide (and are arguably beginning to culturally define) us, this show has something important to say. And now is an opportune time to do so.

An unusual Batmobile greets patrons upon their first step within the doors. It brings a smile, and an intrigue that sustains through the experience of the production. This is an unconventional venue with a powerful story to tell. And thanks to the artistic vision of the Space 55 team, and the undeniable talent of the cast, this show successfully reminds even the most spoiled of high brow audiences that good theatre is about telling important stories and leaving an impact on those who cathartically experience them.

The performance area is stark, primarily occupied by chairs, with a backdrop of white panels and hanging foliage. There is a certain beauty in the shadows cast by hanging leaves and human figures. So clean and simple. So natural. Almost comfortable. Almost.

Lori Kaminsky’s lighting choices are muted, with only two moments of significance offering a true variation in luminescence. In a black-box theatre with the audience so close they are spying on intimate moments more than observing through a fourth wall: each choice is amplified.

Ultimately, this production proves that Rebecca Gilman’s eloquent script requires very little more than brilliant performances to make a tremendous impact.

The audience’s journey is anchored by Caroline, a woman living a life dedicated to saving children, or at least trying her best though struggling to so do. Hers is a life full of pain and regret, existential fulfillment and accomplishment. Never quelling her battle to find inner peace. She is the everyman. She is us. And Lindsey Gemme as Caroline is absolutely radiant at being so. At all times she carries her heavy and overflowing bag of cases. She is encumbered, though she has chosen to be. And the burden she bears weighs on the audience, a true testament to the success of the choices made by Duane Daniels, RC Contreras, and the entire cast.

The underpinning themes and characters are arguably as powerful as the anchor. Parental love, control and selfishness. Religion, faith, fanaticism, and skepticism. Marriage and divorce. The struggle for sobriety, accompanied by justification and an understanding for the act of self-medicating. Sacrifice. Shame. All of these concepts play an integral role in telling the story. A story that needs to be told. Perhaps now more than ever before.

The show is performed on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM, and on Sundays at 2 PM, through March 4. Tickets are $15, and there is not a bad seat in the (albeit quite tiny) house. There is free parking available just outside the doors, and the unique warehouse-like space is definitely worth a walk around before the show starts.

If you have an inclination to support local theatre while experiencing it first-hand, Luna Gale is a solid option.

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For mature audiences. Visit Space 55’s website for tickets.

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