Written and Directed by Max Baker
Produced by Stable Cable
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 4.11.15
The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street
by Jan Rosenberg on 4.6.15
Breanna Foster, Brian Edelman, Lisa Anderson, Ian Patrick Poake, Kate Garfield and Kevin Gilmartin in Live From The Surface Of The Moon.
BOTTOM LINE: A fascinating and shockingly relevant look at fighting gender roles at the end of the '60s.
Out in space, one of the most revolutionary moments in human history has been achieved: man has landed on the moon. Meanwhile on Earth, women are being treated like aliens. Baker’s unsettling play highlights the discomfort experienced by both genders at the end of the Sixties as women strive for equal rights.
Don (Ian Patrick Poake) and his very pregnant wife Carol (Kate Garfield) host a dinner party to celebrate Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon’s surface. They’re joined by Carol’s father Joe (Kevin Gilmartin), who suffers from dementia and keeps mistaking his daughter for his long-dead wife. They’ve invited their friends Wendell (Brian Edelman) and his outspoken wife June (hilariously played by Breanna Foister). Carol has taken it upon herself to extend an invitation to shy new girl Holly (Lisa Anderson), who is about to become a casualty in the battle of the sexes.
What starts out as a casual get together becomes tense as both couples begin to provoke one another. Don can hardly stand taking orders from Carol, nearly erupting every time she sends him to the kitchen to check on the food. He goes as far as to warn Carol not to go into labor on this historical night. Not one to be told what to do, Carol returns Don’s anger right back to him with biting venom.
No one is more prepared for the coming New Age than June, a proud member of a Women’s Liberation Group (which she encourages Carol to join, much to Don’s dismay). Wendell is more tolerable than Don, at least in tone.
Described as the “lonely weirdo” behind her back, Holly becomes an unfortunate pawn in both of the couples’ fight for power. In fact, the only thing that makes Holly an outsider is that she doesn’t conform to anyone’s expectations of how a young woman should dress or behave. She takes poetry classes, types eighty-five words per minute, and isn’t panicking over finding a husband. Because of this, she is seen as a threat.
What I found most fascinating about this play is that my first impressions of each character proved to be unreliable. Nobody is without fault, nor can they be fully trusted. The second act takes place a few months later on New Year’s Eve. Following the conclusion of the first act, Holly is no longer the innocent young woman we met previously, and her transformation is truly heartbreaking. Swiftly directed by the playwright himself, Live From the Surface of the Moon reveals the monsters we turn into when no one is looking.
(Live From The Surface Of The Moon plays at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street through April 11, 2015. Performances are Sundays and Mondays at 7PM; Wednesdays through Fridays at 7PM; and Saturdays at 3PM. Tickets are $18 and available by visiting ovationtix.com or by calling 866 811 4111.)