The cow did not jump over the moon but Southeastern’s theatre students did. Southeastern Louisiana University’s Vonnie Borden presents new play, Life on the Moon by Anna Tatelman, on Feb. 26 – March 21.
The storyline of Life on the Moon, focuses on the Rawley family struggling to find happiness through their misery. The main characters, Piper and Spencer, are siblings who challenge the ideal family lifestyle.
Student with a callback for the role of Piper Madison Pearson said, “It was different to see a character, Piper, who has autism. We normally don’t see actors really push themselves in a scenario like that. She used different accents, had ticks that triggered feelings, doesn’t like physical contact, and faces those struggles of that disability.”
Spencer is the older brother who just returned from the Army. Built up with anger and stress, no one in the family notices or confronts him.
Education majort Savannah Davidson said, “Spencer sort of let the emotions build up. In the end, we discover why he was truly discharged and what is really bothering him the whole time. It was an intense buildup of curiosity through the entire play.”
The prop masters and stage crew faced new challenges with this play’s scenery. The audience was invited into the living room by the stage being warped unto the seats.
“It was nice not to just see a few items here and there, but actually a full house perspective,” said Davidson. “It helped me feel connected to the characters, like I was watching them from their own living room couch.”
The stage props were not the only new thing the theatre department offered. The characters challenged the societal family lifestyle through cultural norms.
Topics approached in the play included rape, disability, army life, marriage and loneliness. The parents feeling alone in helping Piper, Piper not being able to explain her emotions by words, and Spencer watching everything revolve around his little sister.
“The character’s family life was based all on a minute-to-minute schedule. Every minute wrapped around Piper,” said Pearson. “It was scheduled for when she takes her medicine, when someone arrives or leaves so Piper could not inconvenienced and even their family talks. It was all so they could avoid any problems that could arise for Piper.”
The end of the play, Spencer reveals to Piper the true reason for his discharge from the army: rape. His bunk mate had raped him, and the army would claim Spencer had a personality disorder, ending his time at base.
“Piper feeds off of people and feels for Spencer’s stress and ticks. She follows his pattern and in result, panics herself too. She snaps from the pressure by physically destroying all in her path,” said Davidson. “But in the end, it broke that wall for both characters and allowed Piper to truly understand all emotions. She asked for the one thing she hated most: a hug.”