There is layer upon layer of meaning in Nicholas Kazan’s Blood Moon, a brisk and brutal play covering power relationships, changing perspectives on gender and the virtues of innocence.
But when each layer is peeled away, it’s essentially a revenge play.
A few years after losing her parents, 19-year-old Manya (Victoria Beck) comes to the big city to visit her uncle Gregory (Fabrizio Omodei). One night, Gregory takes the young and slightly naïve Manya to his strange and charismatic friend Alan’s (Ted Crosby) apartment.
After Gregory leaves, a war of words and opposing opinions erupts and Alan eventually rapes Manya. Over a year later, Manya invites Gregory and Alan to her house for a magnificent dinner. Given the play’s twists and turns, I can’t reveal exactly what happens, but it’s safe to say that she’s no longer the same woman.
Victoria Beck shines as Manya. Her exuberance and passion make her a likeable character, so the audience is completely on her side when she eventually exacts her revenge.
Like most other things in the play, Beck’s performance veers towards melodrama, but for the most part, that melodrama serves to heighten the impact of the themes, rather than diminish them.
Christopher Stollery, who is currently starring on the other side of town in Great Falls at the Ensemble Theatre, has directed an attractive and simple production. He has a way of moving the actors around the intimate space at TAP Gallery theatre that feels both natural and slightly cinematic.
[pull_left]a compelling theatrical ride[/pull_left]
Ted Crosby and Fabrizio Omodei are both strong as Alan and Gregory, even if they don’t always pick up on the complexities in Kazan’s script.
And it is a complex and finely crafted script. Kazan has fit so much observation and action into just one act, but surprisingly it never feels rushed.
Just as surprising is how little the play has dated in the almost 30 years since it was first performed. The power relationship between Manya and Alan is even more poignant today given our greater understanding of the circumstances surrounding violence against women.
While the play might slightly oversimplify the multitude of consequences that sexual assault may have upon a victim, it’s a compelling theatrical ride.
When Manya finally revealed the rape to her uncle Gregory in a defiant moment, a woman in the opening night audience exclaimed ‘Yes!’
It’s not a perfect performance, but it certainly ignites a passion.