photo by caily huntley
Stewart Delo’s Monument Valley is the intersection where Harold Pinter meets Stephen King. The play hinges on two hired assassins who are charged with the task of slowly murdering a feeble old lady who already has one foot inside the grave. Delo’s writing is funny and clever, but the play needs a greater and more consistent sense of its stakes.
Delo is clearly a talented writer and he has a good handle on mixing his dark comedy with the deeper psychological ideas that make his characters oddly compelling. While the intellectual insights are not quite as clearly integrated into the action plot as they need to be, the script shows strong potential and would certainly benefit from further development. I would be interested to see the production in the hands of a more experienced director, who may also be able to help Delo streamline the play.
Jessica Pellerin shines particularly brightly as May, the alpha assassin, diligent in her work, eager to teach the ropes to her young protégée, Ginette, but with a sturdy toughness and frayed soul that reflects her chosen mode of employment. Jozel Bennett has great vocal and physical prowess as Ms. Isaacs, although her character is the most underwritten of the three. Kathryn Reeves struggles to give Ginette rich and interesting subtext while also remaining mostly subservient and guarded, so it is difficult for the audience to connect with her in the same way they connect with May and Ms. Isaacs.
In all, Monument Valley has a lot that is strong and exciting, and could certainly benefit from being workshopped more in the future. I also look forward to seeing Jessica Pellerin onstage again soon.
Monument Valley played as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival at the Museum of Natural History and has closed.