The Emperor and the Moon, an original theatrical work presented by Saints of an Unnamed Country opened on Thursday at Big House on Ponce, sucking me deep into a world of exquisite hypocrisy and domestic apocalypse. Set in the chambers of our defunct Emperor (Cameron Stuart), whose throne resembled a Cubist toilet, the action unfolded like a Greek tragedy, trembling with simultaneous senses of it’s-all-about-to-happen and it-already-has, and with the Emperor’s inevitable diminishment by the Moon (Alisa Mittin), whom he summons to elucidate a recurring dream that haunts him. What’s great is how much this play betrayed me, seducing me with poetry at the moment the Emperor’s lyric faculties began to fail him, beguiling me with the flourish and flail of brilliantly wrought props that must have embellished rituals now impotent to affect their intended magic. I can’t stop thinking about Boodles the Clown (Gina Murdock), the Emperor’s servant who soft-starts the performance sipping her flask while weeping and laughing. She’s heartbroken that it’s all over before it’s even begun. Really, I’m just like Boodles, terrified all along that it just doesn’t matter anymore.
On my way out through the iron gates, I congratulated Cameron Stuart, who told me that Saints of an Unnamed Country will be staging a new play each month at Big House on Ponce. I’m excited about his cracked ambition, which just might stand a chance at keeping up artistically with our wind-up, delinquent world. Catch the final performance of The Emperor and the Moon, tonight at Big House On Ponce 368 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE. Doors at 9PM. $10.
Maggie Ginestra is a writer, collaborator and curator based in Atlanta. She is the cofounder and programming director of Sumptuary, and also facilitates WonderRoot’s 2014/15 Walthall Artist Fellowship, designs collaborative processes as a member of Unicorn Projects, and helps to support several other arts initiatives, such as Idea Capital, Dance Chance Atlanta, and Mighty Rights Media.