Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

The title of the play Monsoon Season virtually invites a symbolic interpretation. Written by Lizzie Vieh and set in contemporary Phoenix, the two-actor drama chronicles the break up of Danny (Richard Thieriot) and Julia (Therese Plaehn). The structure of the play is unusual. The story is told through two long (very long) alternating monologues in a he said/she said format.

The stage as the audience first sees it is strewn with junk which perhaps is meant to symbolize the lives of the two characters. Both appear to be living on the margin with Danny moonlighting as an Uber driver and Julia working as a self-involved and unreliable makeup artist. In his spare time Danny is a stalker and likes to make threatening phone calls.  Dramatic tension of a sort is provided when Julia invites a drug dealer into her house.   Amidst all of this chaos,  Danny and Julia share custody of a daughter. Danny and Julia are not the most rewarding type of people to be around.

Julia, who is also a beauty blogger, has a memorable moment when she states, “I just want to be famous. I want people to be jealous of me. Is that so much to ask?” The lines encapsulate so much of the junky narcissism that seems to undergird much of modern pop culture and is consistent with the overall nihilistic/dystopian atmosphere of the drama.

To structure a play around two long monologues would be challenging under the best of circumstances. Thieriot and Plaehn are certainly two talented actors but I think that it would have been more rewarding for the audience to have seen interaction between their characters.

With a running length of somewhat less than an hour and a half,  the play seems like it also would have benefited from being cut by ten to twenty minutes.  To its credit,  the climax of the drama is eerie and memorable.  It just feels like it takes too long to get there. Monsoon Season is a work that would most likely appeal to audiences of experimental theater.

Monsoon Season was presented earlier this year at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker, Monsoon Season is performing at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater located at 224 Waverly Place in Manhattan through November 23.