The human experience presents many obstacles—seemingly at random. Deepak Chopra once said, “Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny.” Somewhere in the course of our existence, it seems, we all either learn to accept the jagged trajectory of our lives or become paralyzed by replaying life-changing moments in our minds; especially of the kind we simply have no way of controlling.
Overall, the acting in this play was wonderful—literally no weak links at all.
This is the central, underlying theme of the Rapid Lemon production “Give Me Moonlight,” now playing at Motor House in Baltimore. Director Noah Silas and playwright Ariel Mitchell have pieced together an emotionally gripping story of an affluent couple in the mid-twentieth century coping with a debilitating injury and a childless marriage. Albert (Sean Coe) suffers temporary paralysis from a horrible train accident and his wife Bessie (Holly Gibbs) wrestles with her yearning for children while simultaneously tending to her feeble, depressed husband. Two unlikely characters enter their lives that alter their paths and ultimately delivers them to their destined “happy place” under a desert moon.
Albert and Bessie’s lives changed when Bessie brought in a young, pregnant woman named “Jack” (Whitley Cargill) to live in their home. Albert was vehemently against the idea of caring for another stray person off the streets. Moreover, fate would yield Jack’s husband Scotty (Flynn Harne) into the fray as well. Bessie’s insistence on “helping” everyone obsessively even worn down Jack’s demeanor, causing her to unleash a hurtful truth, “You want what you cannot have!” Jack accused Bessie of wanting to take her unborn child, bringing Bessie to an emotional breaking point. The child symbolized a “future” Bessie simply could not have, which caused her to tumble into an abyss of spinning memories and dreams, wrenching the sentimental tassels of my heart and fueling unbridled sympathy for this poor woman.
I found this story to be very well conceived and written. The dialogue was exceptional, and emotions were heightened by the talented ensemble. The star of this performance was (hands down) Holly Gibbs. Her impassioned portrayal of a woman in tatters managed to jolt a few tears out of me and prompted a standing ovation at the conclusion of the performance. Overall, the acting in this play was wonderful—literally no weak links at all. Flynn Harne as Scotty (and a character in dream sequences) was animated, blazingly rambunctious and flawless in depicting a likable scoundrel. Whitley Cargill had some sharp edges playing “Jack” and a dream sequence character. Sean Coe was also terrific playing the ailing, cane-dependent “Albert,” whose frustrations permeated the theatre, as did his glee at the notion of building a “castle in the desert” at the conclusion.
I wasn’t in love with the lighting (or lack of sufficient light), but understand the dark ambiance was likely part of the show’s overall appeal. Even so, Allan Sean Weeks gets an earnest nod for lighting the stage just enough for us to see who’s who. Speaking of the stage, scenic designer Bruce Kapplin and set constructor Derek Brownson built quite an impressive set, which includes railroad tracks and desert sand on the periphery of a quaint living room.
This is truly an enjoyable story with a heart-warming ending. The characters and their personalities are very strong and authentic. Ariel Mitchell truly connected all the dots that lead everyone under the bright moon in the desert and finally coming to accept their fate in this world. I absolutely loved this play and watching its “world premiere” is a fate I certainly accept with delight. Make it a point to see this gem. For more information and tickets, visit www.rapidlemon.com.
Running time approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes with no intermission.
“Give Me Moonlight” is now showing at Motor House in Baltimore until February 16. For more information and tickets, click here.