Unearthed Theatre Company's latest production, "On Stars Not Falling," is a contemporary drama that deals with grief and forgiveness. A story about the healing capabilities of love, "On Stars Not Falling" looks at a group of friends still recovering from the loss of a dear friend. When an unexpected visitor arrives, his need to share the truth tests the bonds of friendship.
Director Hannah Leibson explains this play's importance, relevance, and why it is a story that needs to be shared.
When did you first encounter this play?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I saw a performance of 'On Stars' that so deeply affected me. When the lights came up at the end, I realized that I had been crying. I had let myself give into love, and to the messiness that comes with letting go. This profound impact has stayed with me for the six years since first seeing the show, and I'm so excited to share it with an audience at USC.
Why this play? Why now?
So often we become enveloped in the day-to-day chaos of the 21st century, running from place to place with no sense of direction. We get lost. Every day it seems that the world we live in gets harder and harder to bear. Hatred runs abound, and it's easy to feel numb. It's easier to turn our backs on feeling and to push the people we need most away.
'On Stars Not Falling' is a reminder; a reminder that when life gets too hard to bear love has the ability to bring us to the other side. It's all around us; and sometimes in the places we least expect to find it. We just have to open our eyes and give into the vulnerability that's needed to let love in.
I've had the honor of working with the playwright Scott Shallenbarger in various capacities, and he has helped me see the power that we all have to make an impact in the lives of others. He poured his soul into this show, and I want to share this beautiful piece of theatre with a USC audience.
This show was written before gay marriage was legalized, and yet, we as a nation are still struggling to accept all people as equals. By seeing this show, I hope people can recognize both the progress we have made, but also recognize that hatred is still very much all around us.
Last spring, I had the opportunity to direct a scene from this show in one of my classes. The two actors I worked with deeply connected with the play, and pushed me to direct the full show this fall. I'm so grateful that they did; they reminded me why this play needs to be seen.
What do you hope the audience will take away from this theatrical experience?
I really hope that the audience can walk away from this show with a newfound sense of agency to let themselves feel. I hope that audience members will recognize that embracing love and feeling is often the harder road to take, but it's nonetheless the road that leads to greater happiness and acceptance in the long term. 'On Stars' reminds us that love is all around us, even when we feel alone. It's a reminder that we are all enough, and that tomorrow will always come.
"On Stars Not Falling" will be playing November 9th – 12th in Cammilleri Hall. There is a recommended $5 donation at the door. For tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-stars-not-falling-tickets-39358553493