The Dark Side of the Moon: A Review of Moonlight
Written by Bwog Staff
Take advantage of student theater! The final performance of Harold Pinter’s Moonlight is tonight at 8 o’clock in the Lerner Black Box. Go and be literary!
Harold Pinter’s Moonlight is in no way the typical drama performed by eager undergraduates and Sarah Wansely’s choice to take on this work reflects a certain courage and confidence both in her own talents and that of her cast and crew.
Pinter is famous for word play and subtext and Moonlight is no exception. The script challenges the actors cast to grapple with big emotions and big fears without their usual emotive volume. Here, Wansely offers an almost all too real look at familial relations, intimacy and the responsibilities they respectively entail.
The action of the play surrounds the declining physical health and mental complacency of Andy (Thomas Anawalt), the play’s protagonist and patriarch. Bedridden, he delivers surly rants and pompous homilies to any audience he can muster, usually his disinterested wife, Bel (Maura Mcnamara). While Anawalt booms with both repressed and irreverent rhetoric, McNamara sings her lines sarcastically and returns his jabs with her own bittersweet venom.
Unfortunately Jake and Fred struggle to either love or respect their father. David Gerson gives a stellar performance as Jake and handles Pinter’s subtext with an impressive synthesis of restraint and urgency. Delivering his lines with a coy grin and an almost poetic rhythm, Gerson’s Jake is all confidence and bravado. With a commanding presence, Gerson as Jake at first seems to have both emotionally and geographically distanced himself from his family. Over the course of the play, however, both the audience and Jake himself begin to doubt his easy detachment. Eventually Jake, like his father, begins to question his confident actions and speeches. With alarming rawness, Gerson three times repeats “What is being said?.” Each time he asks this his voice grows more and more fragile and the audience fully comprehends Jake’s struggle to realize the meaning, or lack there of, of his words.