“My father said I was the most loved child in the whole world,” said NC Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman, with wide-eyed innocence and empathy in Burning Coal Theatre’s production of “Spoonface Steinberg.”
Spoonface is an 8-year-old autistic girl dying of cancer, facing life’s day-to-day challenges as well as dealing with a catastrophic terminal illness. “That is all there is to know – that all of us will end up being one – and that is nothing and that is endless,” said Spoonface.
Inman, who has no acting experience, was one of a dozen community leaders who performed the title role of the one-person play during a two-week run in April. Performers worked from a script in the one-hour production. The monologue was supported by opera music performed by pianist Christian Stahr and singer Julianna Tauschinger- Dempsey. Raleigh attorney Alec Donaldson played the title role at a different performance.
Director Jerome Davis did not ask the actors to mimic a young girl or a person with autism. “Having Spoonface portrayed by men and women and people of varied ages and races helps show the universality of the themes in the play,” said Inman, “because the meaning of the story transcends the main character’s age or disability. I had to find the soul of the character.”
“I learned the importance or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and remembering that everyone can make a valuable contribution no matter how many cards are stacked against them,” said Inman. “Spoonface shows that regardless of the perils people face, they have value in the world and can find beauty in the face of misfortune.”
“It’s eye-opening and humbling to put oneself in a position that is a far cry from being a lawyer or a judge. In our professional lives, we deal on a daily basis with the legal consequences of tragic circumstances and events. But the parties deal with the practical consequences long after the legal matter ends. The greatest strengths are sometimes found in the course of struggle.”
Burning Coal Theatre is located in the former auditorium of the Murphey School. More information can be found at burningcoal.org.