Looking for Lilith (LFL) isn’t just another Louisville theatre company. The group, founded by women interested in promoting the stories of and enlightening the community on issues that affect women, consistently takes on plays that make a statement; cause the community to reflect on their own experience; and bring the broad world close to home, giving theatregoers a chance to experience lives and perspectives much different than their own.
Such is the case with LFL’s latest production, Luz.
In Luz, LFL has picked a powerful piece, highlighting an issue that many in the United States don’t think of—because they don’t know about.
Set in varied locations including the US, Guatemala (where LFL company members have been volunteering for ten years), and Haiti, Luz portrays the stories of three women, Luz, Zia and Helene, who are despicably treated by members of their native communities and seek refuge and help in the United States.
The play is symbolic in more ways than one; each of the women stands for countless others who will forever remain unnamed and faceless.
The cast is a diverse group of actors, some new to LFL, some veterans, who together create a unique ensemble to drive a complex story.
Catherine Filloux’s script can be confusing at times, due to its episodic nature that flips quickly from location to location, and because it breaks the continuity of the separate stories, giving too few cues for the audience to catch up.
What the script lacks in clarity, it makes up for in symbolism. The play is a high school literature teacher’s dream, full of so much imagery that the audience is likely to miss some on their first go-around.
Luz is a quiet play, driven by pro-bono attorney Alexandra who takes on the cases of these scared and scarred women. The majority of scenes are intimate conversations of two, which, especially at the beginning, result in under-projected line delivery, making it difficult to hear.
Two actors who do not struggle with projection are Ebony Jordan (Daniela) and Clint Gill (Oliver, a PR guru for an oil company), spouses who have a fiery and electric argument on the merits of Oliver’s job and the strain it puts on his relationship with his son.
Jennifer Thalman Kepler walks the line as a results-oriented attorney Alexandra who rarely lets her light shine until a watershed scene late in the play when she at last reveals her reason for the work she does. It is the most stirring moment of the production.
Looking for Lilith continues to show their penchant for creating relationships and collaborations with Luz. For this production, they have teamed with Squallis Puppeteers as well as several local organizations including the Hispanic-Latino Coalition. They have scheduled talk-back conversations after selected performances, which on opening night included the playwright herself, who traveled from New York City to attend the production.
While audience members might not catch every word or nuance of this multi-issue, multi-language production, they will most definitely walk away with more than enough to think about.
Luz continues through March 8 at the Henry Clay Theatre, 604 S. Third Street, in Louisville. Tickets may be purchased at the door ($18/$15) or reserved by calling 502-638-2559. LFL will host a Community Night on March 3, where tickets can be purchased for $10.
Image: H.Stone/Looking for Lilith