Returning for its second year, the Melbourne Monologues 2016, directed by Elizabeth Walley, offer insight into six intriguing characters, created by 6 unique Melbourne writers. The audience enjoys an intimate peek into the small, personal worlds of these people and their trials, suffering, and loves.
The monologue, as an art form, is one that has always interested me. It is so challenging. It leaves the performer exposed on stage, with no distractions, no escape, no one but the audience to work with. And the audience, typically, can't be relied upon for much.
The actors and actresses in The Melbourne Monologues 2016 accept this challenge bravely. They dominate their stark, empty stage, and bring us into whatever world has been created by the writer. There is wide variety here, from a reinvented nursery rhyme character, to the kind of people who live next door to us in suburban Melbourne, to people from generations and times now past. The monologues move from the day-to-day concerns of simple people, to the fantastical, to the extreme.
A standout piece, for me, was Louise Baxter's The Man in the Moon, performed by Sean Paisley-Collins. In it, the writer considers how an astronaut would re-adapt to life on earth, and how their perception would be forever altered by the experience of space. The writing here is beautiful, balanced perfectly on a line between poetry and realism. Paisley-Collins' performance enables the wonderful writing, bringing clarity and conviction to it, embodying the story in a convincing character.
Another highlight during the evening was Alison Knight's How Does Your Garden Grow? Here we enjoyed a charming performance by Stephanie King, who expertly lulls us with her sweetness and innocence, to deliver a punchline that had us laughing darkly.
This show is filled with excellent performances and interesting pieces of new writing, so I highly recommend an evening spent with the Melbourne Writer's Theatre, supporting the wonderful work they do.