The MONSOON SEASON team is off to Edinburgh this week to start their run at the Edinburgh Fringe on August 1st. We asked playwright Lizzie Vieh, director Kristin McCarthy Parker, and actors Richard Thieriot and Therese Plaehn to tell us more about the show.
What have you discovered about the play while preparing for Edinburgh?
Lizzie: So much. I have discovered who Julia is, and that informs a lot about Danny. The dysfunction in their relationship is a driving force in the plot, and has helped shape the story. Once I knew who Julia was, it was not as difficult to restructure the plot to incorporate her. I think adding another character has really strengthened the play in that now there are two strong opposing forces, and neither narrator is assumed to be reliable. I have also learned a lot about pay-off; planting seeds of information that blossom later.
Kristin: So much! This is our first time putting Danny and Julia's sections together on their feet. We've discovered new rhythms to the piece in its two-part structure. The interplay between the different perspectives of each character is really exciting, and the setup and satisfaction of different plot points function differently now.
Richard: This play moves like lightning- you have transitions that require emotional choreography along with the physical.
Therese: To be on stage by myself is a new thing for me and getting into that zone is fun and terrifying.
Why should people come see Monsoon Season?
Lizzie: I think the entertainment world is pretty saturated right now with true crime and crime drama. Some of it is excellent, some of it is exploitative crap. I hope that Monsoon Season serves to challenge the tropes of the genre by presenting women not as victims, but as active participants, even aggressors. And on the most basic level, people should come see it because it is funny, scary, and entertaining (I hope!!!) Also, Richard and Therese's performances are wonderful.
Kristin: Monsoon Season is a thriller with a wicked sense of humor. It's so smart, constantly subverting expectations about the plot and characters. We have a stellar cast delivering knockout performances, and the overall design (especially for a 5-minute load-in) is spectacular.
Richard: Despite it only being two actors, the play unpacks into a bunch of other characters and places. Vieh has created a funny, scary heartbreaking Phoenix that you won’t forget.
Therese: My friends who came to see Monsoon Season in NY especially liked the characters and the fast paced style where they careen from scene to scene. It's a ride!
What about Edinburgh Fringe are you most excited for?
Lizzie: I am excited to see the audience reaction. Having wrestled with this version of the play for the better part of a year, I don't yet know how a large group of people not previously exposed to it will react. And of course, I am very excited to see tons and tons of theatre!
Kristin: I'm ready to see the most theater ever. I've done a number of festivals in my life, but Edinburgh Fringe is the pinnacle. Just being in a city that is teeming with people all there to see live performance in its many forms will be incredible.
Richard: Seeing all the inspiring work from around the world!
Therese: I'm most excited to see other shows and meet artists from all over the world!