Written by Isabelle Stid
M-A Drama is performing their first play in three years: The Old Man And The Old Moon. The play tells the story of the old man whose job it is to fill up the moon with light. When his wife leaves home for an adventure, he must give up the life he knows and loves to get her back.
The show takes place on a nondescript set that looks like it could be out of Restoration Hardware. Drama teacher Danette Bathauer said this was purposeful because “it’s supposed to be no place, and yet can be every place, and entails a journey around the world. It really doesn’t have a distinct time period, and yet needs to represent every time period. This is what is called a representational set.”
The play also contains music, but is not a musical.
Senior Sadie Almgren, who plays the Old Man, said, “Instead of having music for the sake of a musical, where there is a reason for their singers to be singing, here, we’re singing for the sake of singing, and we’re playing music for the sake of playing music.”
Senior Ria Cuellar-Koh, who plays the Old Man’s Wife, agreed and said the music “adds something. There’s not only music in it, but non-diegetic music. It’s more of like an underscore, and it explores how voice and even lyrical vocals can be an instrument.”
In addition to the music, the show includes shadow puppetry. Bathauer said that the benefit of shadow puppetry in the show is that “it’s actually easier to let the audience’s imagination fill in the blanks. By using shadow puppetry, we could have a man eaten by a fish, we could have a volcano go off and the audience kind of completes that picture in their mind.” She went on to say that “the simplicity of [shadow puppetry] is deceiving because it’s actually pretty difficult. We’ve had to work really hard, but the simplicity of the imagery that you see allows people to finish it in their mind, kind of like reading a book.”
Props added to the rustic feel of the play. Bathuaer said that every prop is “already on stage. There’s no trickery. It’s all surprising, but it relies on the actors to unfold the story and help the audience see the way it’s supposed to go.”
Almgren echoed these sentiments about props. She said, “The most challenging part is figuring it all out because, for example, the crates move all over the stage, and then end up in the same place. All the props move everywhere, and people move everywhere.”
Almgren loved being in the show and said, “My favorite part is getting to do the most obnoxious Irish accent really loud for an hour and a half.”
Leads include Sadie Almgren as the Old Man, Ria Cuellar Koh as the Old Man’s Wife, junior Margaret Donald as Matheson, and junior Jackson Bryman as Perry. The play will be showing Friday, March 11 and 18 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 12 and 19 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, March 13 and 20 at 5:00 pm at M-A’s Performing Arts Center. You can buy tickets here.
Cuellar-Koh said, “It’s a really emotional story, but it never feels forced. I love that aspect. People should expect that there’s comedy, there’s some drama, but at the end of the day, it’s a really wholesome show that makes you feel good and says that no matter where you are, you still have opportunities to change and grow.”