(WEST ORANGE, NJ) -- In response to Essex County's current high COVID numbers, Luna Stage has made the decision to reschedule its in-person production of #RIFT Part 2: The Live Experience by Gabriel Jason Dean. Originally slated for February, #RIFT Part 2 will now take place in April. In January and February, Luna will launch additional cycles of #RIFT Part 1: A Play Over Text Message. Audience members can sign up for this free virtual experience at www.lunastage.org/rift.
Through the lens of two real-life brothers—one a convicted murderer, the other a playwright; one a member of the alt-right, the other an A.O.C.-type progressive—#RIFT explores whether it is possible to bridge fundamental political and ideological divides. Playwright Gabriel Jason Dean navigates a deeply personal landscape: his brother is currently incarcerated, and the two had barely spoken in 10 years. In creating this piece, Dean reconnected with his brother to explore the roots of their differences, to see if there is any way to find common ground, and to try to understand what love means in this context. #RIFT deals with mature themes including violence, sexual abuse, and racism, and is intended for audiences 16+.
The regional theatre will also continue to offer small in-person classes as well as readings and workshop events in its West Orange theatre space, which is equipped with Merv-18 air purifiers. Proof of vaccination is required for all, and masks must be worn at performance events.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have explored how theatre can support imagination and recovery,” says Luna Stage Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith. “We are excited to share virtual and small-scale in-person experiences in the winter and reopen our building fully in the spring,”
Since March 2020, Luna Stage has programmed outdoor plays, created innovative virtual performances, and offered remote as well as in-person classes and camps. Recent outdoor theatre offerings include The Frontera Project, a bilingual production which ran in Montclair and West Orange in October, as well as Will Nolan’s Gay History for Straight People! which played at the ValleyArts Courtyard and Van Vleck Gardens in June.
#RIFT: Part 1, a free eight-week virtual experience currently accessible to audiences via text message, was awarded grants from the Venturous Theatre Foundation’s Plays For Now program and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s STAGES Festival, and is currently a featured event as part of the National Day of Racial Healing. Signups are available at www.lunastage.org/rift for the next cycle, which starts January 25.
Luna Stage develops and produces vibrant plays about local and global experiences. Firmly rooted in New Jersey's Valley Arts District — a crossroads of cultures — Luna brings our communities together for artistic events that spark conversations and create understanding and change.
Luna continues to explore educational frontiers in response to the pandemic. In addition to acting and filmmaking classes, this month the theatre launched Roleplay in Action: RPG and Improv, an exciting new fusion of gaming and theatre in which students explore a fantasy world, complete with epic quests, mysteries, and monsters aplenty.
The recipient of JerseyArts People’s Choice Award for Favorite Small Theatre in NJ for the past two years (2019 & 2020), Luna celebrates 10 years in its West Orange location this year. In addition to professional theatre productions on its MainStage and Luna 2, Luna offers classes for children and adults, opportunities for early-career and established theatre artists to develop new work, and has pivoted during the pandemic to offer a wide variety of free virtual programming.