The Moonlight Room

  • Date:
    February 1, 2008
    Review by:
    Robert Rubin.

    A Review by Robert Rubin.

    The Moonlight Room, which was originally produced in 2004, is now playing at the Bank Street Theater at 155 Bank Street in New York City. The play is produced by the relatively new production company know as Larrikin Production which was founded by Mara Kassin and Matthew Murumba. This drama, which was written by Tristine Skyuler centers around two high school teenagers who are forced to hold a late-night vigil in a hospital waiting room when a friend suffers a drug overdose.

    Sal and Josh, troubled high school students who are 16 year old Manhattanites, who find themselves in a hospital waiting room at 1:30 AM awaiting word about their friend Lightfield, who has overdosed on drugs. The two are soon joined by Sal�s worried mother who is depressed that she is losing touch with her daughter and by Lightfield�s enraged father, who blames the hard-partying Josh for giving his son the drugs that may kill him. Later, Lightfield�s step-brother, a doctor, joins the group to give us further incite into the family. As the night and the next day unfold, the five react to the grave situation in their own way.

    Tristine Skyler works include the screenplay of the 1999 film Getting To Know You with Zach Braff and Chris Noth, and a film adaptation of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Ms. Skyler�s play takes on many familiar issues. Skyler turns the second act into a series of summary speeches which tend to make this act into a lecture of the issues. Ms. Skyler�s use of language and the mix of naivete and wisdom of these Manhattan kids give us an understanding of today�s teenager. We can appreciate Joshua's snide comments about how Sally and her mother have a �completely suburban life style in the middle of Manhattan". They even go to Costco in New Jersey and have a car. However, we do get an understanding of how Sal�s mother and Lightfield�s father feel about the actions of their children and how they choose to go about their daily life styles.

    Mara Kassin who is cast in the role of Sal, projects a concerned innocence about her friend, and about her mother, played by Denise Hungerford, a woman who is so concerned by the personal insult of her divorce that she can only intermittently try being a parent. The role of Josh was played by Matthew Murumba. Unfortunately, his acting skills are unable to show us the aggressively street-smart person that is Josh. He does not seem sly enough to keep the secrets that are revealed about Josh in the second act. Jeffrey Farber does a good job of showing us the changing personality of Lightfield�s father. Leo Kim provides comic relief in the role of Adam. Nicole Kempskie directed this production with skill. She chooses to employee quick black-out and contemporary music to show the passage of time rather that long period of quiet as was done in previous productions. Carl Tallent has designed a drab, white and gray colored waiting room down to its scuffed floor, and David Higham has lit the main area and transforms the set into the kind of hospital area we all have experienced.

    It is a good effort by this new theater company, but the preachy second act and some poor acting remind me of an after school special.

    Robert Rubin