Luna Gale at The Ensemble
Up and coming star of the Sydney stage scene, Ebony Vagulans sat down to answer Carly's questions this week on her upcoming role in The Ensemble's 'Luna Gale' in Sydney. Questioning what it takes to protect a child and whether it is possible to ever truely heal from trauma, Rebecca Gilman's newest work opens September 7th.
Since graduating from NIDA’s esteemed acting course in 2016, you have been seen in plays across Sydney consistently! What was it that attracted you to ‘Luna Gale’ as a project and how has your approach to your character been informed by either your training or your past experiences in shows up to this point?
When I first read the play I really responded to Gillman’s’ ability to create a sort of revolving door of empathy for each of the characters. Moment to moment, pause to pause you question your assumptions and whether you as an audience member have sided with the character in the ‘right’. I found that really exciting, the audience effectively takes on Caroline’s (Georgie Parker’s) plight; am I making the right decision?
One of the great benefits of training is having three years to test and refine your approach to the work away from the pressures of reviews or professional distractions. I realised that my process is a gradual layering or building of character. With each rehearsal I try to stay open to not just my impulses but how they interact with the world the company is creating. My first show 'Diving For Pearls' was a great lesson in that, just submitting yourself to the reality of the world and how it functions will present insights you couldn’t imagine.
Luna Gale is directed by Susanna Dowling and written by Rebecca Gilman. I know you have made quite a point of working with females in creative and leadership positions in the theatre. Can you speak a bit more about this – why is it important to you and what has your experience working with this particular, very female dominated, team been like.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with many female creatives in leadership positions over my short career . As a young woman it’s indescribable how the freedom to be comfortable in the rehearsal space will impact the quality of your work. But has also provided me with a group of some of the fiercest, wittiest most empathetic and artistically forward thinking role models. I’m so happy to add Susanna to that list, she’s a force and so intelligent.
Gilman’s work brings a very powerful topic of responsibility and parental duty to the stage – how have you all approached rehearsals or even your personal research on this topic to best inform your character and tackle a heavy, controversial theme such as that presented in Luna Gale?
As the play is about individuals navigating government agencies and institutions we’ve spent a lot of time researching how the DHS and foster care systems work in America.I’ve focused especially on ‘aging out’ of the foster system and the psychological impacts of it. Its one of the great questions I’ve had to ask in making theatre, ‘ how do you keep the work in the room, particularly when it’s heavy’, I’m yet to answer that but I do find a quick episode of Rick and Morty will lift any fog.
Who is Lourdes to you? What do you expect will stay with you beyond the run of the show about Lourdes? Do you find your characters leave their mark or do you prefer to leave each character behind as you embark on the next project?
Lourdes is, on the surface, what happens when the system is working optimally. She’s a bright, autonomous, funny girl who has been working her whole life against labels and statistics and overcome so many odds. But she has serious concerns, was it right to have been taken away from her family, was it for the best? She’s a young woman who’s been required to grow up very quickly. I find it impossible to let go of character once the show finishes, you start to dream like them, even think and sound like them in your real life. It’s like trying to forget someone after you’ve spent a few months studying and falling in love with them. I’m sure Lourdes will be similar.
Why is Luna Gale an important piece of theatre? Why should Sydney audiences ensure they don’t miss it at The Ensemble next month?
Luna Gale is a brilliant examination of the nature of faith and what we need to believe in to survive. Is it god, is it work, is it drugs? Addictions can come in multi-faceted forms across society and this play explores that beautifully. I can’t wait to share it with audiences.
Ebony Vagulans in rehearsals. Photo Credit: Prudence Upton
Favourite production you have ever seen
True West at Wharf 1. It changed my life.
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Dar Es Salam, I have a lot of family there and I’ve never been.
Dream role to perform?
Play or musicals?
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
What’s next for you after this show?
I have a couple of auditions pending so fingers crossed I’ll be back on stage before the year is out
Tickets to Luna Gale are available here from September 7th till October 13th.