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Venus & Mona
by Leslie Bramm

Author: Leslie Bramm

Description: When fighting the ultimate hate/rage battle with yourself, someone’s gonna take a beating.

Year Written/Copyrighted: 2013
Date Added: 7/22/2013
Content Advisory: Adult content, Strong language, situations and violence
Keywords: Drama · Fight Sequences · Mostly Female Characters · Movies/Film/TV · Mythology · Single Set · Small Cast Size
2 Acts, 90 Minutes
3 Females, 0 Males

NOTE: Venus & Mona is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to Rochelle at rd@indietheaternow.com.

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Original Production Information

This version of Venus & Mona was first presented in March 2013 by Variations Theatre Group at the Chain Theatre, Long Island City, New York, with the the following cast and credits:

Venus: Amy Newhall
Mona: Christina Elise Perry
Detective Cortes: Becky London

Director: Kirk Gostkowski

An earlier version of Venus & Mona was presented by Three Crows Theatre, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival in 2010 at the Kraine Theatre, with the following cast and credits:

Nam Holtz: Mona Lisa Rhodes

Bridget McMillan: Tree and Corpse

Maayan Schneider: Venus Tredwater

Dan Via: Detective Cortes.

Director: Melissa Attebery

Stage manager: Norah Scheinman

Fight Choreography: Carrie Brewer

Review by Ed Malin

Variations Theatre Group has spent six months working with playwright Leslie Bramm on a revised version of his play Venus and Mona.  This is the first of such projects at their new home at the Chain Theatre in Long Island City, and I hope they will all be this interesting.

The setting is a rooftop of a California mobile home surrounded by garbage.  As they have done before, twenty-something identical twin sisters Venus (Amy Newhall) and Mona (Christina Elise Perry) are insulting each other punk-rock style and fistfighting according to rules they created at age 6.  They have not seen each other in some time.  Mona is now a cult film star.  Their mother, whom they refer to as "Junkie/drunk" is in a hospital, near death.   Mona knows she has only 24 hours to get back to London and finish her latest film, but there are a lot of things for her to work through here.  It is interesting that the two talented actresses do not resemble each other but are playing twins that the third character, Detective Cortes (Becky London) cannot tell apart.  The twins have an almost telepathic understanding, but deal with their issues in very different ways.  Metaphorically, the garbage around them has taken years to accumulate and could only be removed with lots of work.  Yet, it is at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that Detective Cortes met their frequently "oblivious" mother.  To what extent is the family demon, the Galadamy, "real"? What will happen next?  Who will live and who will die?  It's a tense and fascinating ending that I recommend you experience for yourself.

It's refreshing to hear dialogue that is so up to date, aggressive, bratty and also vulnerable. This play which has no males onstage is a special opportunity to see female characters who have overcome adversity to find their own way in life, yet enjoy the chance to bond using their unique language.   I love how the sisters have rules for timeouts to check their makeup during their fights.  Director Kirk Gostkowski has built in a lot of diverting combat and antagonism between the sisters and the mysterious woman who knows their mother.  Scenic and lighting designer R. Allen Babcock and scenic artist Stephanie Ferraoili have thrown some surprises into the deceptively simple-looking garbage pile surrounding the rooftop fighting space.  There is the tree branch that is the only way up to the roof, which collapses early in the show, and there are also the machinations of the demon Galadamy brought about somehow by the unseen Christopher Flores.

review of the 2013 production at Variations Theatre Group

Excerpt from Venus & Mona

DETECTIVE CORTES

Is this what twins are like? Alike like two conspiring little girls?

MONA

“Alike”? You mean alike, like my sister? We’re only alike on the surface.

DETECTIVE CORTES

No, on the surface you’re identical.

VENUS

‘Surface is just that. “Alike” isn’t even close.

DETECTIVE CORTES

(thinking)

If she’s “popping up” soon, but won’t be back ‘till much later, and you’re looking for someone, but you aren’t, maybe I need to go back into the garbage and have a more thorough look for myself?

VENUS

It’s still freely lurking around Mona.

MONA

She made it through the heap. How do you explain that?

VENUS

Luck of the fucking Irish, I don’t know. Are you fucking Irish?

DETECTIVE CORTES

“Lurking” is a highly suspicious behavior. What’s lurking? Who’s lurking? I think I’m going to have another look. See what’s “lurking” in there.

(Stepping inside the heap)

MONA

(Blurting)

No! The Gala…

VENUS

Don’t do it Mona…

(She holds her sister’s gaze a bit before…)

MONA

Get out! The Gala Damy!

VENUS

Page 49!

MONA

She can’t be in the heap!...Dyke/tective, please…

(Dragging her away from CORTES)

VENUS

“And this above all else, the Gala Damy remains a secret.”

DETECTIVE CORTES

I can overlook just so much. So, if the Gala Damy is some sort of drug code.

MONA

It stands over 7 feet tall. It’s blood/flame red, with the head of a bird. Razor/slice talons. Sticky slime/skin.

VENUS

Fucking bitch!

nytheatre.com FringeNYC 2010 Preview: Artists from ENERGY MAN, THE CONVENIENCE OF MODERN LIVING, VENUS AND MONA, and WEST LETHARGY discuss their FringeNYC shows. All four of these artists are also nytheatre.com reviewers.

Venus & Mona: Playwright Leslie Bramm, director Kirk Gostkowski, and title players Amy Newhall and Christina Elise Perry talk about the new revival of this play about twin sisters who (literally) duke it out atop their mom's trailer home after a long time apart. Kirk also talks about the brand new Chain Theatre in Long Island City, where the show is being presented.