Donna Orbits The Moon

A Filmed Play Reading

by Ian August
October 2-5, 2020
EXTENDED To Oct. 9-12

“Susan Clausen gives a moving, sad and funny tour-de-force performance as Donna, a Minnesota housewife untethered by unspoken sorrow in Ian August’s quirky and detail-rich one-act play “Donna Orbits the Moon.” Subtly directed for film by Kandace Crystal, the bittersweet play takes the audience on a whimsical journey to outer space and back as Donna struggles to navigate the reasons for her sudden bursts of anger, blackouts and baking-related mishaps.” – Pam Kragen, SD

Directed by Kandace Crystal.  Cast includes Susan Clausen as Donna & Eric Poppick as The Voice

Something is not quite right with Donna: She’s a loving mother, a devoted wife, and a minor celebrity to all the bake sale planners in town, but something is making her spacey, and she’s not sure what it is. Therapy is out of the question and church isn’t the place to share one’s distress. Donna will need to pass through space and through time—all the while listening to an unlikely voice—and try to break free from her gravitational pull to learn just how she can land.

A co-production with Scripps Ranch Theatre

How to Watch:

Due to contractual obligations, this production is no longer available to stream

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  • All patrons who purchase tickets will receive a link to stream the production. This link will be available from noon on Friday, October 9th to noon on Monday, October 12th. You may view the production at any time during this window.

Cast and Team


Susan Clausen (Donna) Susan is grateful to explore Donna Orbits the Moon with this talented team. Scripps Ranch Theatre credits include Good PeopleAbsurd Person SingularMoonlight and MagnoliasCalifornia SuiteHow the Other Half Loves and Social Security. Susan performed in the Amazon Prime activation for Carnival Row at ComiCon 2019. Lamb’s Players Theatre credits include The NerdHarveyA Man For All Seasons‘Till We Have Faces and The Diviners. She performed as Clara Schumann with the San Diego Symphony and a storyteller with Write Out Loud’s TwainFest ’10-’20. Other local credits include Defying Gravity, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Auntie Mame, Dancing at Lughnasa and Jake’s Women at North Coast Rep.


Eric Poppick (The Voice) Eric recently moved to Medford, Oregon after spending 40 years in Los Angeles and San Diego, working as an actor and director for stage, television and film.  Theatre roles include: From Another House: Old Globe Theatre.  BUGIn the Heat of the Night: ion theatre.  Beau JestBarefoot in the Park: AVO Theatre.  An Enemy of the People: Intrepid Shakespeare Company. Awake and Sing!, To Kill a MockingbirdDeath of a SalesmanGolden BoyFour Dogs and a Bone: New Village Arts Theatre.  The History Boys: Cygnet Theatre.  Morning’s at Seven: North Coast Repertory Theatre.  The Heir ApparentThe Sunshine BoysHow the Other Half LovesDeathtrapNot Now, Darling: Scripps Ranch Theatre. One for the Road: Lyceum Theatre.

While in San Diego, Eric directed the world premiere of Ripples from Walden Pond at Cygnet Theatre and the world premiere of W.C. Fields by Himself! at North Coast Repertory Theatre.  He also directed seven productions for Scripps Ranch Theatre: Play it Again SamOver the River and Through the Woodsa feminine endingSunset ParkSkin DeepGood People and For Better. Eric served on the board of directors for the Scripps Ranch Theatre for ten years.


Kandace Crystal (Director)  Kandace (she/her) is an Actor, Director, Producer, and Florida State University alum from Miami, FL. She’s currently the Artistic Director at American History Theater and the Associate Artistic Director at Trinity Theatre Company. Kandace hopes to continue using her art to tell the stories of people whose stories need to be told.  Directorial credits include: That 24 Hour Thing, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Trinity Theatre Company), The Nursing Hours/The Piano (Blindspot Collective), and Aladdin, Jr. (Kroc Center) .  Feel free to keep up with her journey on social media, @KandaceCrystal on all platforms.


Ian August (Playwright)  Ian August is an award-winning, internationally produced playwright. His full-length plays include: Brisé (Selection, 2019 Great Plains Theatre Conference, Finalist 2019 Seven Devils Playwright Conference); The Excavation of Mary Anning (Winner, 2018 Ashland New Plays Festival and 2018 DVRF New Playwright Program, Semi-Finalist 2018 O’Neill Conference); Interviewese (Winner Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Fest, Finalist 2018 New Comedy Fest B Street Theatre); Cobbler (Finalist 2019 New Comedy Fest B Street Theatre); The Goldilocks Zone (Passage Theatre Company, Semi-Finalist 2015 O’Neill Conference); Donna Orbits the Moon (NJ Repertory Company, Utah Contemporary Theatre; Barbour Memorial Playwright Award, 2010); Missing Celia Rose (NYC Summer Play Festival; Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s “Playfest 2009,” Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society); Submitted by C. Randall McCloskey (2011 New York International Fringe Festival); The Moor’s Son; Everything you Can Do (to Make the World a Better Place); and Zero.

His YA play, Parker and the City in the Sea, debuted at the 71st Edinburgh International Fringe Festival in the summer of 2018. Other works have been published by Samuel French, Inc., The Pitkin Review, Smith and Kraus Publishing, and the One-Act Play Depot.

Mr. August is a founding member of the Princeton-based playwriting collective, the Witherspoon Circle, and is a graduated member of the Philadelphia playwriting workshop, The Foundry.

Playwright Perspective

So sometimes, you hear voices.  When you’re a playwright—and not all playwrights experience this, but I know many who do—there are times when you’re minding your own business, cleaning the house, driving to work, ordering sesame noodles from the local Chinese place, and the voices, well, they just start talking. Sometimes individually. Sometimes in pairs. Sometimes in groups. Sometimes they talk to one another. Sometimes they talk to you.

Donna began talking to me in my kitchen in the autumn of 2010, as I was mixing the batter for a tray of blondies. She was angry, and she wasn’t quite sure why, and once the blondies were in the oven, I realized that I had to help her figure it out. She was someone I had never met before, this Donna, but as I wrote, her voice became clearer and clearer, and her world took shape around it, and it was a world that was not mine, but was becoming increasingly clear that it was also mine. Her frustrations were my frustrations, her denial was my denial, and her anger… well, I had to claim that as well.

Donna Orbits the Moon was born at a time when our country was trying to decide what kind of a place it wanted to be. We had a progressive in the White House whose ambitions were stifled by a conservative legislative body and a gridlocked Supreme Court. We had the Tea Party. We were a nation at war—we had troops in Iraq and Afghanistan—and were failing our returning troops with interminable wait times at VA hospitals whose sole purpose was to provide them the care they required. It was a time of frustration—across all party lines—in which many of us were angry about so many things, although I think, at the time, we weren’t always certain as to why.

I think Donna’s voice helped me own up to it all. I think her journey helped me reckon with the things that frightened me most about our changing country. I think she allowed me to see the planet in a way I hadn’t ever seen it before: how small our lives are, and how big the universe is around us. But also how big our lives are, and how small the universe is around us.

Donna Orbits The Moon received its world premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch, New Jersey
SuzAnne Barabas, Artistic Director Gabor Barabas, Executive Producer

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