MonaRita Playing to Rave Reviews

Before heading to Winnipeg, MonaRita has been touring across Canada and creating quite a buzz. We can’t wait to have them join us for next week’s festival. Don’t miss it at FemFest!

Here is the latest review from the Halifax Herald’s Stephen Cooke:

MonaRita melds laughs, challenging relationship

The delicate balance of friendship is sent spinning off the scales in this Newfoundland production of Toronto playwright Shannon Bramer’s dark comedy MonaRita.Its title characters are two very different women, each seeing in the other their own inner desires.

Frumpy housewife Mona craves independence and sexual awakening, while attractive professional Rita is longing for the stability she can’t find in the succession of brooding man-children who are drawn to her in the downtown singles scene.

Their friendship seems unlikely, but each looks to the other for clues for solving their individual identity crises, with Mona’s sublimated physical attraction to Rita acting to muddy the waters.

Sara Tilley’s Mona is a simmering cauldron of rage, boiling over in one jolting psychotic breakdown.

As Rita, Ruth Lawrence is hell-bent on self-improvement and self-control, hissing: “You can’t force yourself to be happy” through clenched teeth.

You know she’s going to pop her cork as well, but how and when is impossible to predict.

Bramer’s script summons reminders of Sam Shepherd’s True West and Ingmar Bergman’s Persona between comic insights into the compulsions triggered by sexual self-help books and home decor magazines.

Sherry White’s direction keeps the interaction sharp and compelling.

Every laugh comes with a bittersweet twist that gives depth to each character and builds understanding of their tenuous, but necessary, relationship.

An interesting fact – the FemFest team has been collecting shoes for weeks for MonaRita. As you can see in the above photo there are a lot of shoes and we wanted to save them from having to bring them from Newfoundland.

You can also check out a recent spotlight on the piece by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

MonaRita at FemFest!

Sara Tilley, Mark White and I can’t wait to get to Winnipeg. It’ll be the first time either of us has been there and we figure it’s about time we made it! We are crossing our fingers that playwright Shannon Bramer can also come along. 

White Rooster Theatre and She Said Yes! are small, artist-run independent companies making theatre in St. John’s, Newfoundland with some moderate, consistent funding but with a lot of determination and passion. We focus on women and feminist writers and we are very proud of our most recent show. MONARITA by Shannon Bramer has universal appeal and yet is eerie, strange and very unique. We are so looking forward to coming to FemFest because your reputation for bringing together the best in women’s work reaches across the country and we’d love MONARITA to be a part of that legacy. 

Before heading to Winnipeg, we’ve played the show in St. John’s, Toronto, and Hamilton this year. The reviews for the show tell more than we can about why audiences should see this debut work from this astonishing new poet/playwright: 

Go see this dark comedy about two real women dealing with love, motherhood, self-acceptance … you will not be disappointed…the most enjoyable experience I have had at a Fringe show in a very long time… simple but stunning… flawless acting, 5 out of 5.       Stephanie Yantsis, Hamilton Fringe Review

A fresh look at retaining identity in the face of motherhood and relationships…quirky dialogue…honest observations … Tilley earns huge applause.  NOW (Toronto) 

Tilley’s performance…is vulnerable and impassioned. Lawrence’s…is likeable, enviable and sad. …timeless.    Mooney on Theatre (Toronto) 

A so-called ‘chick flick’… will interest, even fascinate males audiences too. Well done in both creation and execution.      Ontario Arts Review (Toronto) 

A performance that simply has to be seen… The Telegram (St. John’s)  

I’m hoping that makes you want to come.  See you at the show! 

Ruth Lawrence
Producer and Performer, MONARITA
White Rooster Theatre