By Holli Harms

Two one-acts by Lanford Wilson, in one evening, are going to get me to the theater. Especially two I had not heard of, The Moonshot Tape and A Poster Of The Cosmos both originally staged in the 1980s. Presented by Deep Flight Productions the two one-person shows explore the beauty and the ugly of human desire and love.

Deep Flight looks to present, “Stories that explore and ask questions around things that society tends to deem as taboo, inconvenient or “hard to look at…”” and that is precisely The Moonshot Tape.

The story is of a popular writer, Diane (Margaret Curry) who has returned to her hometown of Mountain Grove, Missouri to help with her mother who is now in assisted care. Diane is being interviewed in her dive hotel by a student from the local high school. The student has made a list of questions for Diane to answer and brought a tape recorder to tape Diane’s responses. The questions are things like what inspired her writing, and about the difference between growing up in a small town and now living in the big city as an adult. Dianne answers these at first cordially, honestly, and with humor, but as time goes on and her brand new bottle of vodka dwindles, the truths of Diane’s life bubble up. Truths she never spoke of. The horrendous sexual abuse she had to endure as a child and young woman by her stepfather. How that shaped her life as a woman of the 60s who was enjoying the sexual revolution, taking and taking from all around her and never really able to receive. Love is not something she knows or understands.

In Wilson’s A Postcard of the Cosmos, the character Tom (Geoff Stoner) is also being recorded. He is in an interrogation room and the police are asking him questions regarding the death of his roommate and lover, Johnny. Tom is combative to those in the room and he is small of mind and large of anger and hate. He tells them all about Johnny, all about their life. There is humor and love in his speech. There is also hate for those interrogating him. For all those whom he believes are looking down on him for being homosexual and for what they think he might have done to Johnny.

Both pieces have the signature Wilson poetry prose with a musical beat to them. Both stories are compelling, and I say to anyone who loves Lanford Wilson check them out. I only wish that this production could have taken its cues from Wilson. There was unfortunately a flatness to it.  Flat and colorless.  I never felt that the characters had been fully embodied by the actors. These are dark places to fall into I understand and no one seems to be taking on this magnitude of emotions. It is all surface.

The Moonshot Tape and A Poster Of The Cosmos written by Lanford Wilson, and directed by Mark
Cirnigliaro playing a limited run at The Flea at 20 Thomas Street

With: Margaret Curry and Geoff Stoner

Creative Team: Bethanie Wampol Watson – Set Designer, Zack Gage – Lighting Designer, Noa Smidt – Costume Designer, Jeff Watson – Sound and Projection Designer, Cat Gillespie – Stage Manager

Performances: The Siggy at The Flea 20 Thomas Street

Running Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes ( No Intermission)