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BWW Reviews: LIVE FROM THE SURFACE OF THE MOON Just Doesn't Land

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Stable Cable Lab Co.'s production of "Live from the Surface Of the Moon" is certainly far out like the radical 1960s decade in which it takes place...but not necessarily in a good way. Written and directed by Max Baker, this new play takes audiences to a blue-collar home in 1969 Cleveland, Ohio. In this moment, a bizarre cast of characters gathers to view the moon landing on television. Don (Ian Patrick Poake), an ice cream truck driver, and his extremely pregnant wife, Carol (Kate Garfield) have invited over their friends, the pseudo-feminist June (Breanna Foister), and her decidedly sexist, creepy husband Wendell (Brian Edelman). Carol's slightly senile father, Joe (Kevin Gilmartin) and the young, pitiful, and awkward Holly (Lisa Anderson) also join the party.

With a radical new decade looming just around the corner, Baker attempts to set the stage for a commentary on gender politics and changing times in 1969 America with the assembled characters. Unfortunately, the characters are too one-dimensional - and the circumstances they experience simultaneously too banal and bizarre - for any message to hit. Though the cast members deliver capable performances (especially Edelman, who deftly manages to land the loathsome, lurking nature of his character), they do not have much material to work from.

Set in Doss Freel's pleasantly designed living room in a shade of relaxed browns replete with slightly worn furnishings suggestive of Don's working class job, the proceedings of "Live From The Surface of the Moon" reveal themselves to be rather unpleasant. While the two couples have clearly defined friendships, Holly and Joe are made to be the outsiders in the group. In Holly's case, this becomes a central part of the play's development - particularly in a profoundly uncomfortable and illogical moment with Wendell at the end of the show's first act. In the case of Joe, however, I remain puzzled as to the presence of his character in the play. Perhaps he is meant to represent the older generation, in contrast to June who aims to forge ahead with her lofty feminist ideals and bring Carol with her - all while doing nothing at all to move the movement forward. And I do appreciate the irony in June's pro-feminist aims and Wendell's outright sexism. That aside, though, Baker's writing makes no meaningful commentary on gender dynamics.

Though "Live From The Surface of the Moon" takes place on the night of Neil Armstrong's monumental physical feat, the play consists primarily of dialogue. But I quickly grew tired of hearing what these flat characters had to say. Unlike the landmark moment of the moon landing, this play left no discernible impression on me.

Stable Cable Lab Co. presents "Live From The Surface of the Moon" runs through April 11 at The Wild Project, 195 E. 3rd Street. Tickets are $18. https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/943910 or 866-811-4111

Photo Credit: Sara Watson


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