A story that needs to be heard…
In 1893 a lunar eclipse occurred in Turkey, and, convinced that a "beast" was swallowing the moon, the Turks fired their guns into the sky in an attempt to kill it. The same guns, still smoking with a racial hatred toward the neighboring Armenian population, prompted a systematic extermination of the predominantly Christian Armenians. A series of widespread pogroms in the late eighteenth century culminated in the Genocide of 1915 and the murder of almost two million Armenians.
Kalinoski has set the play in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, between 1921-1933 and spins the troubling tale of two survivors. 15-year-old orphan Seta Tomasian has just arrived in the U.S. as a picture bride. Both she and her new husband, Aram, have escaped the slaughter of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The play chronicles the first 12 years of Seta's and Aram's marriage. Aram, silently surviving, has taken a portrait of his lost family and cut out all of the heads as a reminder of his duty to replace his dead relatives. But try as they might, they are unable to have children because Seta was starved as a child and is now infertile.
Burdened with the loss of their families and unable to have a child of their own, the scarred survivors struggle toward understanding and reconciliation. Entering this turmoil is a waif named Vincent, whom Seta takes under her protection. The three orphans struggle with their plagued existence and the youngster's presence changes Aram and Seta's lives forever.
Eventually, after years of silence, Seta is able to convince Aram that he is no longer memorializing his lost family by keeping the picture. The playwright weaves a complex tapestry of guilt, marriage, and fear leading to an emotionally moving climax. In an incredibly cathartic scene she finally is able to convince Aram to talk about his past and to start healing.
Although it may sound like a feel-good advertisement for psychotherapy, "Beast on the Moon" is a beautiful, emotional and satisfying drama. The depth of the play is impressive, with complex interweaving of different difficult themes. Not only are Seta and Aram dealing with painful pasts, but they are also struggling to survive as a married couple, two different people with different needs.
"Beast on the Moon" is an interesting hybrid of traditional representational theatre and storytelling. Most of the play is acted out with the invisible fourth wall, but Kalinoski included a narrator who directly addresses the audience. This technique is useful because it immediately engages the audience into the action. The narrator also plays with the theme of true identity because of his "witness" status.
En 2001, les "Molières" (prix décernés en France par le monde du théâtre à l'occasion de la "Nuit des Molières", créée par Georges Cravenne en 1987) consacrent Une Bête sur la Lune, mise en scène par Irina Brook, en lui attribuant le prix de la meilleure pièce du répertoire, de la meilleure adaptation, de la meilleure mise en scène, du meilleur comédien et de la meilleure comédienne.