Rebecca Gilman's "Luna Gale" @ Aurora Theatre Company: Review

by Rhonda Shrader, September 10, 2017

Playwright Rebecca Gilman is known for writing what she sees. Her unflinching observations have included subjects like depression (Sweetest Swing in Baseball), racism (Spinning Into Butter) and teen prostitution (Blue Surge).  With Luna Gale, she serves up yet another parfait of imperfect people.

The story orbits around multiple themes, including substance abuse, responsible parenting and what role religion should play in the workplace as well as the social safety net

At the center of the drama is Caroline, played by Aurora veteran Jamie Jones. Caroline’s struggle as a social workerinvolves making impossible choices based on incomplete information, usually without access to the resources that could enable desired outcomes.  Add to this the soul crush of endless bureaucracy as well as a smarmy, micromanaging boss and you have a recipe ripe for frustration.  Caroline is a clever and resilient sort, however, and sustains herself on the occasional flowers that bloom through the cracks. Jones imbues Caroline with all of the nuances of frustration, celebration and a dedication that’s exhausting.

This exposure to voices we don’t often hear is yet another reason why theater continues to matter and why playwrights such as Gilman are essential to our increasingly class-segregated society. Director Tom Ross uses his steady hand and experience in unspooling complex tales to give all the voices in this tale a fair shake. 

The cast is uniformly strong with both Aurora veterans and newcomers like Alix Cuadra (Karlie). I also enjoyed seeing Laura Jane Bailey (Cindy), Devin O’Brien (Peter) and Jamie Jones (Caroline) together again since their last Aurora appearance in the comedy Mud Blue Sky

Who will love this play?  Everyone struggling daily with doing things right vs. doing the right things.  And, anyone wondering where to plant seeds of hope on a continually shifting ground.

Now through October 1, tix here.

above: l-r, Cindy (Laura Jane Bailey) explains to social worker Caroline (Jamie Jones) how Jesus is her personal trainer in Aurora's Bay Area Premiere of Luna Gale.


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