There are a lot of problems that real people deal with, stuff that we read about in the media, maybe, that never really hit home in our own lives. Maybe you know someone who is dealing with addiction or abuse — two topics that are addressed in Rebecca Gilman’s Luna Gale, which premiered Oct. 8 at Actors Theatre. You can see it through Oct. 25 in the Pamela Brown Auditorium.
Gilman’s play is set in Iowa, Cedar Rapids actually, which could be anywhere in America. A social worker has too many cases, and the ones she does have pull her emotionally in a way that affects her own ability to cope.
A young couple addicted to heroin is unable to handle the challenge of parenting. The grandmother who wants to raise the child is using her religious beliefs to appear worthy, yet she’s hiding a horrible secret. As an audience member, you may find yourself sympathizing with one character, then another, or seeing a part of yourself in another.
Ultimately, each character is faced with a life-changing decision and struggles to do the right thing. The stakes are high when those decisions involve the life of a newborn baby. The plight of social workers, who must deal with high drama in a sometimes thankless job, is made clear.
“The genius of Luna Gale is the accuracy with which it reflects the complexity of our world and the problems we all deal with,” said Les Waters, the play’s director, “We’re all compromised somehow. We all carry baggage with us that we’re sometimes aware of, and sometimes not. Rebecca’s characters remind us of that. Her writing is non-judgmental.”