by Mariah Kahn of South County Secondary School
What do you get when three people leave the safety of the hospital to live in a rehabilitation commune? Commune-ists! Flint Hill’s Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon tells the story of a sharp-witted girl whose face was deformed in a tragic attack. She and her two misfit friends venture into the world looking for normalcy.
Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon was adapted from a 1970 film of the same title, which was adapted from a book by Marjorie Kellogg. Junie is introduced with a terrible scar on her face, the result of a vicious acid attack by her former boyfriend. She and her two friends Warren, a flamboyant paraplegic, and Arthur, a man with a terrible unknown degenerative brain disease, give insight to their past through sudden flashbacks and conversations with their personal ghosts. The three of them eventually gather the courage to leave the institution they’ve grown accustomed to and try to make it together in the world.
Keeley McLaughlin, who starred as Junie Moon, definitely found her strength in embracing the character’s biting sarcasm. Junie Moon used aggressive sarcasm as a defense mechanism, which was well displayed by McLaughlin’s gestures. Her best friends Warren (John Osborn) and Arthur (Kyle deCamp), though complete opposites, brought out the best in each other. Though occasionally the actors seemed to break character, smiling at their own jokes, the overall comedic timing and delivery were well done and brought a lighthearted side to this serious play. Most noteworthy would be the commitment actors made to their characters. Osborn, who was confined to a wheelchair the duration of the play, not once moved his legs or showed any signs of being able to. Likewise, deCamp managed to maintain both a stutter and an increasingly severe limp throughout the performance. When blackouts and scene shifts broke up the play both Osborn and deCamp committed fully to their disabilities.
The actors’ most difficult challenge of the show seemed to be working with a script that left something to be desired. Certain bursts of emotion, the sudden introduction of characters, and the abrupt ending made the story difficult to follow, but with the help of supporting characters they were able to maintain a bit of continuity. Courtney Ebersohl, who played Minnie, a humorous old woman who lives at the institution, provided delightful comic relief and was always on in the background of a scene. She played off each of the characters well, especially Junie; the two of them had the charming chemistry of an old discarded woman and a young outcast.
This modest show deserved the equally modest and reserved technical aspects Flint Hill provided. The simplicity of it allowed the story and the actors to stand and be the focus. Simple spotlights and pre-recorded voices provided the shift from scene to internal monologue and wall flats provided changeable scenery.
Flint Hill’s Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon will take you on the journey of a young girl rediscovering what it’s like to be human and will leave you wanting to call up a loved one and tell them how you feel.