Saturday, October 7, 2017

Monster at Swandive Theatre

I adore walking into a theater, seeing a fantastic set, and being super excited to see what's going to take place on that set.

In this case, the theater is the Southern, the set is by Sean McArdle and the play is Monster by Swandive Theatre. Monster is a world premiere by Minneapolis playwright Sam Graber, and plays through October 7.

Kelsey McMahon in Monster. That SET!
Photo from Swandive Theatre
Monster is a play about the dark beginnings of the World Wide Web, and the Director's Note (Meg Di Scionio) begins: "Do you ever think about what our lives would be like without the internet? Would the state of the world, our society, our individual days be better or worse if we weren't carrying around tiny pocket computers?"

Kelsey McMahon and Avi Aharoni
Photo from Swandive Theatre
We open on a dorm room in September 1994. Nessa (Jamie Fields) is psyched to start college and to have a roommate to join in her adventures. Brill (Kelsey McMahon), said roommate, is already entrenched in the room, tapping away at her computer, utterly absorbed to the exclusion of all else. Nessa doesn't appear to be concerned about Brill's obsession with her computer and with the vague threat that Brill obliquely refers to frequently, both to her and to RA Greg (Avi Aharoni). 

While Nessa has the traditional college experience of crushes, drinking to excess and studying, Brill does not get up from her computer due to a vague threat of what will happen if she leaves the computer, and what will happen if people see what's on her screen. 

It's an intriguing premise, but we spend too much time watching Brill freak out without having enough of a sense of what she is protecting the world from. Stronger characterization would have helped as well. Still, it's always exciting to see new plays from one of the many fabulous smaller theaters in the Twin Cities.