The subject of rape is and always will be a difficult one to handle in theatre and any other medium for that matter. The topic of incest is even trickier to manage. This play, however, manages to treat both of these topics respectfully and engages the audience in what is ultimately a surreal drama powered by one woman’s portrayal of a tortured soul.
As a result, after the performance, it may be hard to shake the emotions this production induces. That alone is proof that Monster’s message is delivered loud and clear.
The main supporting cast of Kathleen Marsh, George C. Peck and Brian Edwards help to make the story thought provoking and consistent. All three do a fantastic job because they are so believable in their roles. Marsh’s portrayal of the delusional wife is that of a seasoned actress that knows how to emote. Peck is pure evil as the controlling father with a dark secret. While Edwards is the youngest of the three and did fumble on his lines at times, his apparent charisma and poise seeps through during his performance.
The rest of the supporting cast wasn’t quite as stellar though. Carrie Lynette Stringfellow and Tiffany Clifton aren’t as polished and at times, sound as if they are reading their lines, rather than acting them. Victory Chappotin added little in his role as Steve, the Orderly and was unable to carry Smart off the stage.
In spite of these weaker performances, the work of the main supporting cast and Smart’s amazing portrayal of Annie is what makes “Monster” stellar. At times, Smart is simply harrowing. It’s a far fetch to believe her character’s ailments, but by the end, she’ll have you in the palm of her hands. Simultaneously, scared, sexy and sensational, Smart’s performance is one of the best of the Planet Connections Theater Festivity.
Through this, “Monster” does more than raise awareness about these sensitive topics. Through these venerable performances, it becomes a production you’ll remember for quite some time.