ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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HOTTEST TICKET Social Studies PLAYWRIGHT REBECCA GILMAN RIFFS ON DYSFUNCTION, DRUGS, AND FAMILY TIES IN HER LATEST GOODMAN THEATRE WORLD PREMIERE, LUNA GALE. BY THOMAS CONNORS 70 PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA WITTKAMP I nspiration can appear in the strangest places. For playwright Rebecca Gilman—whose Luna Gale opens January 18 at the Goodman Theatre—one such spot was the emergency room of an Oregon hospital, where her fellow patients included a methaddled young couple. "They were a mess," recalls Gilman, who had injured her ankle hiking with her husband. "The young woman was talking on her cell phone in what sounded like a drug deal. Then she got a call—I think it might have been her mother—and suddenly she was giving instructions about her children. Her demeanor changed; she seemed competent and together. I looked at her and thought, Is it possible you're a good mother? Despite the fact that you're a meth addict and your boyfriend is completely passed out next to you?" Gilman, one of the most widely produced playwrights in the country and whose race-driven drama Spinning Into Butter was made into a 2008 movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker, had been wanting to pen a piece about social workers for years, but never hit on a plot until that day in the ER. "I was just really interested in how social workers have no power and a ton of power. They can't save the world, but they can say, 'I'm taking your kid away from you.'" With Luna Gale, Gilman presents a bright but drug-addicted couple struggling to keep their child with the help of a social worker burdened by a less-than-perfect past and a freely expressed prejudice against the Bible-banging ways of the grandmother seeking custody. Although touched with dark humor like much of Gilman's work, the show is a serious exploration of a system in which every participant is, in some way, a victim. "Rebecca uses strong social situations as continued on page 72 Rebecca Gilman's play Luna Gale opens at the Goodman Theatre in January. MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 070-072_MA_SC_HT_Winter2014.indd 70 11/20/13 10:06 AM

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