Lunatics: a night full of stars


Brittany Todd ('10) Photo courtesy of @photographybybrittanytodd

Theatre department put on Lunatics show over homecoming weekend.

“Where I grew up, you rarely saw a star at night. You could look out on a million little earthbound stars, and there was usually an orange… blue… mostly orange glow resting atop it all. Sometimes a star shone through here and there, although now I know they might have been planets… or satellites.”

Elena Fackler (‘22) began her preface to the Luther Theatre Department show “Lunatics” with these words, although the reading of this preface was eventually cut due to the length of the production. Over homecoming weekend, the Luther Theater Department presented “Lunatics” on Friday Oct. 4 and Saturday Oct. 5.

The concept of the show was originally developed in the Devised Works theatre class taught by Associate Professor of Theatre Robert Vrtis. In this class, students were given a prompt to write about how the cosmos affect the world and the people in it.

The process of developing the full production started with students creating short one-person skits, ranging from one to two minutes each. Then, they worked together to compile the skits and combined them with others until they became more substantial. After all the skits were combined, the final project was about 10 minutes long. Over the summer, Vtris continued to arrange the scenes to make a coherent show.

The central theme of the performance was people’s relationship to the moon, according to Phillip Royer (’22). 

“If I had to bring it down to one thing, it would be how it’s kind of focused in on the moon; how the moon affects different people and the ways they react to the moon; how it brings people together and tears people apart,” Royer said.

This is shown through portrayals of the Big Bang and how the universe began, primitive moon landings, or just through a few people sitting down and discussing what they think about when they look up at the night sky.    

At the end of the show performers brought the audience on a walk to view the stars. Then, audience members were encouraged to form small discussion groups where all were invited to share what everyone thought about when looking up at the stars.

Lauren Manhke (‘21) believes the production encourages the audience to examine environmental issues and our role in preserving the Earth.

“There was the message of we only have one earth so we need to take care of it and explore,” Manhke said.

Jessica Carpenter (‘20) shared a similar sentiment and believes that it is important to appreciate the natural world.

“One side message was to appreciate all the beauty in the world, while looking up at the stars and we wrealize we are small in all of creation.” Carpenter said.

The next theater performance will be the Musical Theatre Cabaret: Flops! Good Songs from Musicals that Flopped on Broadway, on Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Jewel Theater.


Brittany Todd (’10) Photo courtesy of @photographybybrittanytodd
Clare Rolinger (’22) bounces off a trampoline in the lunatics performance.
Lindsey Fry (’22) performs a scene in the theatre show “Lunatics”
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