Take an absurdly humorous look at “The Giant Void in My Soul”

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Darin F. Earl II and Valerie Terranova sitting next to each other wearing grey clothing
The Giant Void in My Soul: Darin F. Earl II and Valerie Terranova photo by Joel Weber
The Giant Void in My Soul cast standing in a group against a wall
The Giant Void in My Soul: John P. Keller, Darin F. Earl II, Jesse Castellanos, Valerie Terranova photo by Rajesh Bose

Luna Stage in West Orange has returned to presenting live entertainment, and they open their season with Bernardo Cubría’s latest work, The Giant Void in My Soul. This play, described by its author as being inspired by Don Quixote with traces of Waiting for Godot and the comedy of Abbott and Costello, is a brisk adventure of the mind involving four actors — two Fools and two Performers. The result is by turns humorous and serious, but at all times enjoyable.

The evening begins with a ten-minute pre-show featuring the two Performers (Jesse Castellanos and David Gow) who will create all the other characters in the story. They perform simple routines with props pulled from a giant trunk, finally climbing on stage to move a curtain revealing Fool One and Fool Two (Darin F. Earl III and Valerie Terranova).

The Fools, best friends, seek a way to fill a perceived void in Fool One’s soul. They try everything they can think of — food, alcohol, love, parenthood, spiritual enlightenment, or even trying to come up with one totally original thought. Yet the void persists, eternal and unfillable. Is there anything that can fill the void and bring fulfillment to Fool One?

A stark performance space has been created by set designer Dr. Joseph A. Putrino Jr. with help from lighting designer Cameron Filepas. It consists of a large open area on the theater floor and a raised stage, all done up in gray tones, a neutral any-space within which anything can happen. An enlarged copy of Picasso’s 1955 sketch of Don Quixote adorns the rear wall. A swoop of red and black diamond shapes runs along a side wall, matching the colored diamond shapes on Deborah Caney’s gray costumes for the Fools. Four huge pillows serve as furniture as the show progresses.

Director Rajesh Bose, with help from clown consultant Karl Kenzler and movement coordinator Dan O’Driscoll, has guided his talented troupe of actors through the intellectual and linguistic twists and turns of playwright Cubría’s text. They have created entertainment that touches the soul.

The quest of the Fools is relevant in terms of modern times yet reminds the audience of the journey to find purpose — to fill the giant void within oneself — which is both universal and timeless.

Luna Stage has come up with entertainment that is touching and humorous.

The Giant Void in My Soul was presented by Luna Stage in West Orange through May 22nd. For more information or to purchase tickets for upcoming shows, call 973-395-5551, extension 11, or visit their website at lunastage.org. Luna Stage requires proof of vaccination to enter the theater, and masks must be worn at all times in the building.