Daughter of the Moon is a comic fable about
a teenage girl trying to find love and sanity in a toxic world of illness and
Sixteen year old Nell is an immunological nightmare who hasn’t been out
of her bedroom all summer. Suffering from a variety of chronic health issues,
Nell’s life is dominated by a kind of post traumatic stress disorder that
makes her anxious and depressed. She lives on a boundary between sleeping and
waking where the moon is out during the day and the sun shines at night.
On a beautiful day near the end of summer vacation, Nell’s Mom tries to
rouse her from her torpor, but when she does Nell has an asthma attack. Mom tries
to soothe her with a mantra, incense and music because she fears the side effects
of Nell’s many medications, but finally she is forced to resort to a gruesome
World War I-style gasmask with a handpump to control Nell’s asthma. In her
frustration she leaves Nell to handpump air into her own gasmask
Nell’s best friend Emory has just been released from a psychiatric ward
for drug abuse. Her boyfriend Eli has been arrested for possession and has to
spend the night in jail. Nell and Emory fall asleep dreaming of movie musicals,
but when Nell awakens she finds her own boyfriend Dan in her bed. She and Dan
have just made love (she thinks) for the very first time and she is ecstatic.
Before Dan sneaks out the two make plans to go to Hollywood where Nell will break
into movie musicals and Dan will be a stuntman.
After Dan leaves, Nell has another immunological attack and starts to scratch
her skin off. Mom tries to hose her down with a high pressure hose but finally
gives in to medication.
When Nell finally summons the courage to leave her room (to run away with Dan),
Nell’s Mom “equips” her with her gasmask and pump, an oxygen
supply, a flak jacket, night vision goggles, a GPS bracelet, a megaphone and in
doing so frightens Nell so badly she cannot go.
Emory tells Nell that her doctors in the psych ward explained to her that there
is a vicious prosecuting attorney in her head who defeats her at every turn. She
needs to hire a defense attorney to fight back. Nell decides to hire a defense
But when her attorney arrives, he is drunk, sick, exhausted, depressed, sleep-deprived,
agoraphobic and he passes out on her bed. When he comes to, all he can talk about
are his own immense problems. When he runs out of liquor he finds he can’t
leave Nell’s room either, and he begins to detox. As Nell nurses him through
his detox, they become very close and begin to learn a lot about their problems.
Emory’s old boyfriend Eli appears at her window. He has escaped from jail
and needs to hide. He has been accused of manslaughter when fighting off a prison
guard who tried to rape him. Eli reveals a side of himself that clearly makes
him a soulmate for Nell. He sings, he dreams of Broadway, he has serious panic
attacks. Nell has learned a great deal from nursing her lawyer. She is able to
talk Eli down from a suicidal panic attack and encourages him to surrender to
the police. In the meantime Nell’s lawyer has recovered. He is off to represent
Eli in court. Nell is now completely alone, discouraged and defeated.
Inadvertently Mom discovers a solution to Nell’s anxieties in the magic
of movie musicals, and Nell goes off to be with Eli. On her way out the door she
is stung by a bee and almost dies of shock, but she finds her strength is real
and her spirit has been renewed.. Alone and forlorn, Mom sits on Nell’s
bed when the Lawyer returns. She is clearly confused about who she is now that
her daughter is gone. The lawyer tells her to lie down and tell him all about
Daughter of the Moon is a play about the possibility of life and love in a hostile
world and about the strength we find in each other.