Welcome to our 26th Season and to the Bay Area premiere of Rebecca Gilman's Luna Gale.
Like many of you, I first became aware of Rebecca Gilman when her play, Spinning Into Butter, premiered in 1999 and then appeared on stages across the country. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Spinning Into Butter was a hard-hitting and controversial play about racism among the students and faculty of a small American liberal arts college. That play positioned Gilman as an accomplished writer unafraid to tackle difficult topics about our contemporary world. Luna Gale is no exception.
Inspired by two PBS Frontline documentaries about social workers in Maine (you can find them on YouTube), Gilman knew she wanted to write about social workers, but couldn’t come up with a plot. In an interview for the Goodman Theatre premiere, she says “I was sitting in an emergency room in Eugene, Oregon, and there were three meth addicts there, in this tiny little waiting room. One woman had a whole purse full of candy and she was scarfing down cheesecake, she had these two teenage kids with her; the guy was passed out and the young woman was totally hyped up, talking on the phone with all these different people, clearly telling them where to go to buy drugs. And then the woman’s phone rang and it was someone calling about her kid. She started asking if there was formula in the refrigerator, talking about what they should feed herâ€¦ Her whole demeanor completely changed when she started talking about her child. I thought: ‘maybe she’s a good mother.’ That’s when the story started to come together for me.”
More than 250,000 children enter the foster care system every year and only half of them will be reunited with their parents. Child welfare systems are underfunded and understaffed; the responsibilities of the case workers, overwhelming.
Gilman said, “I do think there’s hope at the end of the play. The question for me was, ‘does Caroline (the protagonist) have faith anymore? And if she has faith, where does it come from and where does she put it?’ Her faith, in the end, is in people. Even though she knows it may go very badly, she decides to take a leap of faith.”
We thank you for having faith in Aurora, and joining us for what promises to be a very exciting 26th year.