By Jason Crawford Samios-Uy
Approx. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Sometimes there are circumstances that are so very painful but we feel as though we have to bear them alone. We put up walls and even facades to the outside world and, most of the time, we don’t think our problems are sufficient enough to be talked about outside of our own bubbles. We get a peek into this type of thinking in Rapid Lemon Productions’ latest offering, Give Me Moonlight by Ariel Mitchell, Directed by Noah Silas, and we get a glimpse into what can happen when those walls and facades crumble.
In a nutshell, Give Me Moonlight concerns itself with Bessie and Albert, a well-to-do married couple in Chicago who seem to have everything nicely put together. When Bessie welcomes a pregnant stranger into their home, the cracks begin to show in Bessie and Albert’s perfect lives and along with the pregnant stranger, a con-artist finds his way into the mix and all of a sudden, a castle is built in the middle of Death Valley with everyone quite okay with how things panned out.
Bruce Kapplin’s Scenic Design is top-notch and he uses his space exquisitely. He has created a simple, minimal design, but it works perfectly for this piece and his work with sand and desert-looking plants (branches, really) take this set to the next level. It’s a creative and effective design and Kapplin is to be commended for his brilliant efforts. Along with Kapplin’s Scenic Design, another honorable mention goes to Costume Design by Deana Fisher Brill. Set at the turn of the 20th century, Brill’s design transports the audience to the era flawlessly. Each character is costumed beautifully with period styles and her attention to detail is on point. Kudos to Brill for a design well thought-out and executed.
Noah Silas takes the helm of this production and his understanding of the text is clear and his staging keeps the story flowing which keeps the audience engaged. The subtly of the period is nicely presented and the character work with the performers is spot on making for a superb showing on Silas’ part as guide and head of this solid, polished production.
Moving on to the performance aspect of this production, this small quartet of performers give strong, solid performances are work splendidly together as a team. They give and take with each other making for robust performances that hit all the buttons of this poignant and thoughtful story. Sean Coe takes on the role of crippled and frustrated husband Albert and thought he seems to go over the top at times, especially physically, in such an intimate space, he’s believable enough. His delivery is a bit stiff but, he seems to have a good grasp of the character and plays him well. Whitely Cargill, as Jack, the pregnant woman taken in by Bessie, gives an admirable performance and she seems to get the story and her character, but her portrayal leaves much to the imagination and it mostly has to do with her delivery. She’s monotone, at best, and scripted as if she’s just going through the motions. She does, however, work quite will with her cast mates and the chemistry with all of them is sincere.
A highlight of this production is Flynn Harne as Scotty, the fast talking con-man who is a good balance of looking out for oneself but meaning no real harm. Harne takes this character and makes it his own giving a confident showing and clear understanding of the role. His delivery is natural and he keeps the audience engaged with his energy. Hats off to Harne for a robust and convincing performance.
Out of the four, Holly Gibbs is the standout in this production, taking on the role of Bessie, the turn of the century housewife trying to keep it all together. Gibbs gives a heartfelt, emotional performance and it is completely authentic in both delivery of the dialogue and actions. She embodies this character and pulls the audience in with her sincerity and passion to the character and the story. She has a natural chemistry with her cast mates which enhances her already stellar performance. Gibbs is certainly one to watch in this production and should be commended for her efforts.
Final thought… Give Me Moonlight is a poignant, real story of how people deal with crisis differently. Some fold into themselves, some keep themselves busy, some run, and some run after, but either way, life has a crazy way of throwing curveballs right to your face. The story is engaging and the performances are superb making this one production you don’t want to miss this season. Get your tickets now!
This is what I thought of Give Me Moonlight at Rapid Lemon Productions… what did you think? Feel free to drop a comment!
Give Me Moonlight will play through February 16 at Motorhouse, 120 W North Avenue, Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at 410-752-2208 or you can purchase them online.
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