Rebecca Gilman creates an easy read with this script. I don’t mean that this is, by any means, light-hearted content. “Luna Gale” isn’t THAT type of easy read; it’s a heart-wrenching, cant-put-it-down page turner that captures the reader’s attention and doesn’t relinquish it until the back cover is closed. Gilman creates a cast of relatable characters from beginning to end and explores the topics of parenthood, substance abuse, sexual assault, and suicide – but among those she lets us find redeeming characteristics in nearly every character.
The play opens in a hospital waiting room, where parents of the baby Luna Gale are waiting. Here we are introduced to Karlie and Peter, both 19, who love Luna yet suffer from an addiction to drugs. They are both high in this scene as they are told their child is being taken away from them, setting into motion the clockwork for the central conflict of the entire play – with whom does Luna truly belong?
Caroline, the workaholic social worker who originally seems no-nonsense, develops herself into a sympathetic character by revealing her own past along the way. On top of that, she becomes a staunch advocate for Karlie and Peter’s recovery, with the ultimate goal being the recovery of Luna into their care.
Luna’s father Peter loves her dearly, as he does his girlfriend Karlie. Peter’s character is originally seen as almost a background character to Karlie’s more ferocious attitude – developing into a father dedicated to his own recovery for his daughter’s sake. Karlie herself is committed to recovering from her drug addiction, eventually realizing what’s truly best for Luna.
In the midst of their recovery from drug addiction, Luna is temporarily fostered by Karlie’s mother Cindy, a devout Christian hell-bent on saving Luna’s soul. Her kooky ways turn sour at times as she becomes more and more fanatical, with backing from the pastor of her church.
These four characters struggle back and forth as they all believe they know what’s best for baby Luna. The plot is supported by Caroline’s by-the-book boss, Cliff, who checks in on the status of Luna’s case every now and then with some advice on the handling of the situation. The cast is rounded out by a recent graduate of foster care, Lourdes, whom Caroline is determined to see succeed in life, and the pastor of Cindy’s church, Pastor Jay, who encourages Cindy’s fanatical obsession with raising Luna a certain way.
Above it all is the determination from every party to do what’s best for Luna – no matter how mistaken some may be along the way.
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