West Orange, NJ –— Luna Stage premieres The Vaccine Monologues, a virtual gallery of theatrical moments inspired by Covid immunization. Playwrights, physicians, activists, and actors share stories real and imagined, reflecting on experiences with the “Fauci ouchie,” or the shot that can change it all.
These stories of optimism, inequality, science, history and imagination can be viewed on the Luna Stage website beginning May 1. The project launches with pieces by Jenny Lyn Bader, Rajesh Bose, Bernardo Cubria, and Joan Lipkin, performed by Bose, Evan Maltby, Emma Ramos and Lipkin.
When Cleme flies from Mexico to Texas to get the vaccine, she is confronted about “jumping the line” in Cubria’s Cleme Gets the Vaccine, while activist Lipkin survives under the long-distance watchful eye of her scientist brother while endlessly seeking a vaccine in Big Brother.
Bader’s Funny Maps offers “the post-vaccine perspective of a social studies teacher and geography enthusiast who hasn’t been in a room with anyone for a while, while Bose’s J&J investigates the moment when “it’s getting real in the Rite Aid.”
New pieces will be added throughout the month, including work by Elena Araoz, EllaRose Chary, Sydney Dy, Annika Franklin, Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin, Rochelle Herring, Rachel Rycerz, Nikkole Salter, Lipica Shah and others.
“The vaccine is a crucible of sorts,” says Luna Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith. “It is a moment where different elements, both physical and emotional, interact to form something new. Who will we be as individuals and a society when we emerge from our isolation? What have we learned? What do we take away?”
The project’s launch date of May 1 was originally scheduled to coincide with the date when every American adult would be eligible with the vaccine. However, on April 5, President Biden announced that he was directing states to expand eligibility by April 19.
“It’s a good problem to have,” says Kreith, “when people are being helped faster than you expected. We’re happy to be behind the curve on this one.”
All Vaccine Monologues are free to the public, and can be viewed on Luna’s website at lunastage.org/vaccine.