With the spring semester roaring full steam ahead, the time for senior projects and comprehensives has arrived. For the Wittenberg Theatre Department, this means seniors are scrambling to refine their plays, begin to recite lines off-book and add the final touches to each scene that they have composed.
For Kristen Feigel,’19, the product of several weeks of rehearsal finally came to fruition with her vision of Rebecca Gilman’s “Luna Gale.”
The play was the debut show for Wittenberg’s new Laboratory Theatre, which is located in the Wittenberg Physical Plant. The theatre is a quaint black box styled theatre, however, the productions produced within the space are anything but small.
“Luna Gale” is not a play that shies away from sensitive topics. Handling subjects such as substance abuse along with emotional and physical traumas, the show was a heavy hitter with many audience members.
Feigel, however, was adamant about giving us Luna’s story.
“I wanted to use my position, as a young, female director, to speak up. These stories need to be told,” read the director’s note in the show’s program.
Not only did Feigel tell the story, she triumphed it.
The story of “Luna Gale” follows a social worker, Caroline, played by Lena Pirt,’21, and her intimate relationship with the foster care system and broken families. The play begins with a young teenage couple, Karlie and Peter, played by Sierra Dann, ’21, and Ted Graeter, ’19, anxiously waiting outside the emergency room to hear news concerning their baby, Luna’s, health. As the scene progresses, Caroline is forced to decide what is best for Luna, despite the couple’s wishes to see their baby.
From scene to scene, the audience learns new facts about each character, which creates an intricate insight into the way these characters live their lives and, ultimately, how we perceive them.
As baby Luna is placed into the care of her grandmother, Cindy, played by Olivia Zink, ’19, the audience learns that perhaps Cindy is not the ideal caretaker for Luna.
Driven by her own suspicions, Caroline puts her faith in Luna’s parents and seeks to get them the rehab that they need to regain custody over Luna.
The play also follows the story of a girl, Lourdes, played by Bella De Jesus, ’22, who has aged out of the foster care program and is in the process of getting into college.
While the audience silently cheers on Lourdes and her escape from a negative past, we watch as her life quickly unravels again and we learn the unfortunate consequences of becoming “too attached,” pitying Caroline’s job as a social worker.
To make matters worse, Caroline is pushed by her superior, meticulously played by Manny Ramirez, ’22, to further the case for Cindy to gain full custody of Luna.
By trying to face Cindy, Caroline is confronted with her faith and is questioned by a calm Pastor Jay, played by Dil Thurber, ’22. Once more the audience learns that Caroline knows all too well how Karlie feels, indicating the primary reason for her optimism towards Luna’s parents.
By the end of the play, a clearer future for Luna shines ahead and the last of Feigel’s masterpiece is displayed onstage with a happy Peter singing to his daughter.
As her senior comprehensive project comes to a close, it is evident that there are big things to expect from Feigel in the years to come.