We sat down with The Monster In The Hall director Claire Moyer to discuss Inis Nua's upcoming play with songs:
What were some of the most important themes and ideas you wanted to make sure to get across?
I love that the play is hopeful. So many stories mine our inner demons, but this play mines our inner angels. It doesn't mean there isn't conflict or struggle for these characters but they are all working so hard to be good to other people that it's a joy to be in the room with their stories. I'd like the audience to want what's best for these characters as well and to leave feeling like maybe there's a little more good in the world than they had thought.
What excited you about working with Inis Nua on The Monster in the Hall?
I feel like this piece is a perfect fit for Inis Nua. It is written by a playwright (David Greig) we know and love, uses music to support intimate storytelling, and deconstructs theatrical styles while still embracing sheer theatricality. I also love the sweet, wild feel of the script. It's a play about a lot of misfits who find each other and everyone in the story just wants what's best for the people they love. It's quite heartwarming and I think that is something we could use a bit more of these days.
What do you think this play, that is very much a Scottish one, has to offer Philadelphia audiences? Why should they see it?
I think the play brings hope and joy to characters who are lost. Duck very much feels that her situation is hopeless and that she is on her own, but she learns through the story that she is not; there are people who love her and support her. I feel like that's a message that anyone can find some connection to, in Scotland, Philadelphia, or anywhere else.
How are you approaching the play?
To be honest, I don't think the piece has much realism in it. I think the story is grounded in a potentially real situation but that the play is written for performance. I am always excited by plays that are made uniquely for theatre. This play is not a book or a film, it only works when you have the immediacy of an audience in front of you. It is riotous and joyful and needs an audience to go on that ride with the characters as well. We are embracing this quality in the show (as well as the direct address) by working with an intimate thrust staging. The set takes items from our daily life and blows them up into a fantastical world just as the extreme circumstances of her life force Duck into a version of reality that isn't quite real.