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Luna Stage extends "RIFT or White Lies" through March 10th

originally published: 02/26/2024

Luna Stage extends "RIFT or White Lies" through March 10th

(WEST ORANGE, NJ) -- Luna Stage will extend its critically-acclaimed production of RIFT or White Lies through March 10. Originally slated to close March 3, this Luna-commissioned Rolling World Premiere by Gabriel Jason Dean has played to sold-out houses and enthusiastic audience response. Tickets are available at www.lunastage.org/rift

Praised as “an extraordinary play, brilliantly performed,” “a taut, funny, and ferocious exploration of brotherly love!”and “beautifully acted and fluidly directed,” the production stars Blake Stadnik (NBC’s This Is Us) and Matt Monaco (Public Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre.)

In RIFT, two brothers--one a progressive novelist, the other a convicted murderer and high-ranking member of a white supremacist prison gang–are united through their traumatic childhood. Now adults, these men navigate the edges of their brotherly bond. Are they truly so different? Is it possible to love someone whose beliefs you hate?

Luna Stage extends "RIFT or White Lies" through March 10th

A work of fiction, RIFT, or White Lies is inspired by Dean’s relationship with his brother, a currently-incarcerated high-level member of the alt-right. The two had been estranged since Dean’s discovery of his brother’s affiliation in 2010. In creating the piece, Dean reconnected with his brother to explore the roots of their ideological differences and try to find common ground.

Reviewers have praised the play as “Riveting…hopeful… a parable for our time!”(NJ Arts Maven) and “A searing drama…wonderfully powerful…that needs to be seen!” (Out In Jersey.)



 
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Some audience members have returned to see the play multiple times, sitting in different locations for the in-the-round performance. Attendees shared “We talked about the play the entire (train ride back to NYC,)” “We would be a happier people if we were able to sit and listen like this.”

The production has not been without controversy, as a school-based performance in Montclair was stopped by the administration. Luna Stage subsequently offered free tickets to the students, so that they could attend the production in the theatre.

Luna Stage extends "RIFT or White Lies" through March 10th

Post-play conversations for the additional dates will be announced shortly.

The play is the live culmination of a two-part project commissioned by Luna. Part 1, #RIFT: A Play Over Text Message, an eight-week interactive virtual experience blending text message conversations, audio files, and images, was delivered to subscribers’’ cell phones across the country during the height of the pandemic. The project was awarded grants from the Venturous Theatre Foundation’s Plays For Now program and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance STAGES Festival, and was featured as part of the National Day of Racial Healing.

This is Dean’s second in-person production at Luna Stage. His play Heartland, also directed by Kreith, explored familial estrangement across geographic and cultural boundaries, and was selected as one of NJArts Top 12 NJ Theater productions of 2019.

Performances take place at Luna Stage (555 Valley Road) in West Orange, New Jersey.

Luna Stage extends "RIFT or White Lies" through March 10th

Luna Stage is a professional regional theatre dedicated to developing and producing vibrant plays about local and global experiences. Firmly rooted in New Jersey's Valley Arts District – a crossroads of cultures – Luna brings its communities together for artistic events that spark conversations and create understanding and change.



 
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Luna received the JerseyArts People's Choice Award for Favorite Small Theatre in New Jersey and has contributed to the development of over 100 new works for the stage, many of which premiered at Luna and have gone on to be produced in New York, regionally, and internationally.

As producer, innovator, and educator, Luna is dedicated to eliminating barriers to participation and allowing all community members to nurture their own creativity and vision. Luna offers classes for children and adults, as well as opportunities for early-career and established theatre artists to develop and incubate new work.

All programs and productions at Luna are pay-what-you-choose to support equity and access to professional arts experiences in our region.


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