Uncover the Moon
Reviewed by Lovell Estell III
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre
Through November 25
Writer/director Susan Chambers scores a modest success with this short coming-of-age tale that meshes allegory with fairy tale, nature myths, and a dash of feminist esprit.
It takes place in a “twisted town governed by fear and ritual.” Levana (a nice performance by Mieko Beyer), barefoot and dressed in a white gown, is preparing for a night’s rest when her father (Phil Sokoloff) enters and tells her a story about a dreadful creature known as the “Mad Woman,” whose magical powers wreak havoc on all she visits.
After drifting off to sleep, Levana is visited by the mad woman (Shalonda Shaw Reese), who puts a hex on her. In short order, she becomes a despised outcast: The townsfolk shun her and treat her as if she were a toxic lab specimen, priests are brought in to “exorcise” the evil that she represents; the men in the town view her as a threat to the established practice of “managing” women, and a plot is even hatched to lock her away.
It’s all for naught because, as it turns out, Levana is on a journey of self-affirmation. Guided by the moon, she tragically discovers her powers and identity as a woman. The play’s fairy tale quality is captivating, but the narrative does get messy at times and a tad confusing. Like most of the productions at Zombie Joe’s, the staging is simple and efficient, with a few props in use on a bare stage. Cast performances, on balance, are good.
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre, 4850 Lankershim Blvd.; North Hollywood; Sat., 8:30 p.m.; through November 25. (818) 202-4120 or www.ZombieJoes.com Running time: 45 minutes with no intermission.