Interview with ‘Man and Moon’ Playwright Siena Marilyn Ledger
LFM: What is Man and Moon about?
Siena: This is a story about connection and finding friendship in a place that often feels hopeless and isolating.
LFM: Why is this play, right now, so important for people to see?
Siena: This play is timely and timeless. Our society is going through a lot of debate on human rights. This work brings to light the humanity and connection across vastly different souls and how they express themselves. “Man and Moon” helps people understand those who identify differently.
LFM: Explain the characters and how you developed them for this two-person play.
Siena: I began writing this in 2015. I started researching cancer as I was going through my own gender journey. I developed two characters, Aaron and Luna — both are a part of me.
Aaron is a non-binary trans man, but he is not limited to societal definitions of gender. Luna is a 12-year-old girl with wisdom beyond her years who is comfortable being herself and uses her passion for astronomy to make sense of the world.
LFM: Music is threaded throughout the play; what does that represent?
Siena: Music is a form of expression, a way to communicate, and it’s universal. We can all receive it regardless of the language we speak. These two characters, who have seemingly little in common, find and develop connection and even friendship in part through the music in the play. They don’t need words.
LFM: Let’s talk about the humor in the play.
LFM: I love the scene where Aaron and Luna are playing Go Fish. The dialogue is so honest, and while it’s pertinent to the game, it’s about so much more.
Siena: The Go Fish scene is actually about fishing for truth. Aaron and Luna are both searching for answers, thus Aaron’s comment, “You can’t lie in Go Fish.” The place they’re in (an oncology unit) and the troubles they’re facing are so dark that I wanted to create levity because, in real life, we often use humor to cope.
LFM: When you created Aaron’s character and included his journey about treatment for breast cancer, you created a lead role often not seen in plays. Why did you do this?
Siena: Aaron is a character who can really be played only by someone who understands his journey. It’s essential to have these roles to share stories and have representation for the Trans community because so much of our history has been erased. Breast cancer is mostly seen as a woman’s disease, but it affects more than just women. People need to hear all voices and stories to have empathy and understanding.
LFM: The play takes the audience through an emotional journey but, ultimately, leaves us with hope and compassion. I like that the message is about learning to connect with people.
Siena: Thank you. “Man and Moon” creates a bridge. It’s meant to remind us to connect with people while they’re there; that time is brief.
LFM: Yes, so true. I recall reading a quote in The Chicago Tribune from a theatre reviewer on “Man and Moon“ who said, “If we all had the openness and compassion of Aaron and Luna, the world would be a better place.” Well done, Siena!
Watch the Talkback with Siena Marilyn Ledger with the audience at Moxie Theatre.
Man and Moon Opening in San Diego
The play “Man and Moon” opens in San Diego on November 5, 2023, at Moxie Theatre and runs through December 3. Learn more about “Man and Moon” and the cast.
Purchase tickets for “Man and Moon”
“Man and Moon” started as a collaborative collegiate project with director Kat Devoe-Peterson. In 2022, it debuted in three cities as part of the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, with performances at Good Company Theatre, The 16th Street Theater NFP, and Oregon Contemporary Theatre.
Note: the transcript was completed with computer voice recognition software; please excuse the minor errors in punctuation and grammar.
Desireé Clarke Miller:
I would also love to say how honest this portrayal of breast cancer is. Watching my sister, I’m going to try really hard not to get emotional. Sorry.
Watching my sister fight and the toll that it can take on a person who, my sister, oldest person in my family, oldest sibling, and she’s 18 years older than me, and she was always the rock of the family, always incredibly strong. And seeing how it affected her mental health and wellbeing, and to see the honesty that’s here in this script is such a gift because I don’t think we often really think about the mental health toll that suffering with a chronic illness takes on people, and also the toll that it takes on the supporters and caregivers in their lives and how those people are trying so hard to uplift them and how badly we want to be the cure for them, but we can’t. So I just think that this plays such a gift to the world in so many different ways. And so yes, on the same side of that exact coin of how do we become and deal with what we have inside of us is just really, really beautiful and it’s such a gift. And so I feel really honored to be able to not only make this a part of our season here at Moxie, but also to have the opportunity to direct this show from such a personal perspective. Just feels really, really great for me. So thank you, Siena.