Before heading to Winnipeg, MonaRita has been touring across Canada and creating quite a buzz. Don’t miss it at FemFest! Here is the latest review from the Halifax Herald’s Stephen Cooke:
MonaRita melds laughs, challenging relationship
The delicate balance of friendship is sent spinning off the scales in this Newfoundland production of Toronto playwright Shannon Bramer’s dark comedy MonaRita.Its title characters are two very different women, each seeing in the other their own inner desires.
Frumpy housewife Mona craves independence and sexual awakening, while attractive professional Rita is longing for the stability she can’t find in the succession of brooding man-children who are drawn to her in the downtown singles scene.
Their friendship seems unlikely, but each looks to the other for clues for solving their individual identity crises, with Mona’s sublimated physical attraction to Rita acting to muddy the waters.
Sara Tilley’s Mona is a simmering cauldron of rage, boiling over in one jolting psychotic breakdown.
As Rita, Ruth Lawrence is hell-bent on self-improvement and self-control, hissing: “You can’t force yourself to be happy” through clenched teeth.
You know she’s going to pop her cork as well, but how and when is impossible to predict.
Bramer’s script summons reminders of Sam Shepherd’s True West and Ingmar Bergman’s Persona between comic insights into the compulsions triggered by sexual self-help books and home decor magazines.
Sherry White’s direction keeps the interaction sharp and compelling.
Every laugh comes with a bittersweet twist that gives depth to each character and builds understanding of their tenuous, but necessary, relationship.
You can also check out a recent spotlight on the piece by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.