Minnie and Mona like to play. Minnie wants to play first date, to play ants, to be a unicorn with a cheeky secret. Mona just wants to play dead. To be dead.
Suicide is a tough subject and The Last Great Hunt know this. It’s a tough subject to talk about, to write about and to sit through a play about. And they want you to know you can leave at any time. And there are pamphlets.
Actors Arielle Gray and Gita Bezard play Minnie and Mona, but they also play writer Jeffrey Jay Fowler and director Kathryn Osborne. Minnie and Mona are children. Children who think they know the world and want to imitate the adults they see around them. And we laugh at them because they tell grotesque stories and become absurd caricatures. And we are stopped in our tracks when Mona always goes one step too far. She’s the kid who always wants to end the story with a dead body. The games don’t end until she dies.
Minnie and Mona are the play within the play. And at every step of the way, these clever, thoughtful theatre makers want to make sure the audience is safe. So just as children’s games suddenly stop, so does Minnie & Mona Play Dead – to make sure you’re doing alright, to make sure you understand where they are coming from.
Responsibility in theatre is an important discussion at every stage of a work. What is the writer’s responsibility to the subject; the director’s responsibility to her actors; the theatre maker’s responsibility to their audience? It’s easy to assault an audience with stories of death and destruction and people setting themselves on fire, but what are you leaving them with? Minnie & Mona Play Dead thinks deeply about what the audience is taking away but also about what they are carrying with them when they enter the theatre.
The Last Great Hunt has brought two deeply smart and exhilarating pieces of theatre to this year’s Melbourne Fringe. Minnie & Mona is tough, but it helps you through it. Fowler’s writing is smart and honest. The performances are full of life. Minnie & Mona is unforgettable.
And if you need help after, there are pamphlets. And you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.