EDINBURGH 2019: MONSOON SEASON Q&A
Ahead of bringing her dark and twisted tale of paranoia and addiction, Monsoon Season, to the Edinburgh Fringe, upcoming New York playwright, Lizzie Vieh, answers five questions for BroadwayWorld.
Tell us a bit about Monsoon Season
Monsoon Season is a two-person play consisting of a pair of companion monologues. First, we hear the story of Danny, a recently divorced dad working in technical support who is trying desperately to get back his family. Then we hear his ex-wife Julia's side of the story. She is a makeup artist struggling to quit Adderall, make a clean break from Danny, and to become a YouTube celebrity makeup artist. Both are losing their grip with reality and channelling dark impulses. The story is set in Phoenix's late-summer monsoon season, when the normally dry-as-a-bone desert gives way to violent storms, mirroring the growing instability of Danny and Julia.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I'm a true-crime addict and am drawn to stories of people pushed to mental extremes who then behave in an uncharacteristic (i.e. violent) manner. That said, I find a lot of true-crime narratives problematic in how they portray women as passive victims. I wanted to challenge that portrayal in my play. As for the setting, I grew up in Phoenix and have always found monsoon season a strange, thrilling time of year.
How has the play developed since its original concept?
I wrote the first version of the play in 2015. It was seven minutes long and only had Danny's story. Then in 2016, I expanded the play to about twenty minutes for the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. In 2018 I workshopped a forty-five-minute version of the play with All For One, still with Danny as the only character. Over the course of 2019 I have expanded the play to full-length, adding Julia's portion of the show.
Who would you recommend comes to see it?
Anyone who enjoys dark comedy, solo performance, feminism, murder mysteries, or gallows humour.
What's next for Monsoon Season after the Fringe?
Monsoon Season will have its New York City premiere in October at the Rattlestick Theater, produced by All For One. After that-who knows?? Hopefully lots of things!
Lizzie Vieh's 'Monsoon Season' is at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 1st - 25th August (not 12th or 19th). Tickets and more information: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/monsoon-season
Photo credit: Maria Baranova