by Brian Peterson
- The Capitol Hill Times -
It’s happening. Macha Monkey Productions’ world premiere of “Lollyville” is showing in Capitol Hill now through May 24.
The plot of “Lollyville, ” written by Bret Fetzer and Juliet Waller-Pruzan, follows the vengeful ghost of traveling salesman who returns to the site of his “fatal heartbreak,” which happens to be an isolated, all-woman town by the name of Lollyville.
As the ghost seeks out revenge and heartbreak, a riff develops among the village women. Their stories sinuously intertwine, and are punctuated throughout the play by lusty mountaineers, frown collectors, and sun-worshipping ladybugs.
Ruth (played by Tracy Leigh), a lowly factory worker, resists Lollyville’s communal spirit by choosing to raise two children alone in the basement of her home. Jessica and Alice (played by Monica Finney and Jillian Vashro) are two schoolteachers in love, whose romance falls into jeopardy when Alice’s spirits sink and her body becomes inexplicably heavy. Then there’s Isobel (played by Rebecca Goldberg), Lollyville’s resident therapist who has never known loneliness until a mysterious book of poetry falls in to her hands.
In addition to being Artistic Director of Macha Monkey Productions, Kristina Sutherland is the director of “Lollyville.” In the midst of the technical week leading up to opening night, The Capitol Hill Times caught a few moments of Sutherland’s time to discuss the script, and what people can expect from a performance.
Sutherland said that Macha Monkey Productions chose and then worked on “Lollyville” for the better part of the last year and a half, and that the writers, Fetzer and Waller-Pruzan, spent the last 15 years working on the script together off and on.
Last year, Macha Monkey Productions held a workshop/staged reading of “Lollyville” that featured Aimee Bruneau, Sara Coates, Meaghan Halverson, Erin Pike, Raymond Williams and Sarah Winsor at Stone Soup Theater. The reading included a post-show discussion with the playwrights and director. The full cast performed “Lollyville” with scripts in hand to help them sharpen and edit the still in-progress script.
“[The script] has been shaped since the workshop in May 2013. The workshop was extremely helpful in identifying places in the script that needed clarification,” Sutherland said.
She added, “‘Lollyville’ is set in an idealistic utopian town. Cut off from the rest of the world; this perfect commune is slowly dying and no one is taking action. Although it’s not a ‘lesson’ play, ‘Lollyville’ illustrates the folly of favoring an image over dealing with a harsher and darker reality.”
The process of developing a new script for a theater company is grueling… but rewarding when equipped with a talented, dedicated, and passionate team. Exactly how Sutherland described this play’s people.
“The process was wonderful,” Sutherland said. “We’re staging the show in the round to put the audience in the middle of ‘Lollyville.’ The live cell music that musician Matthew Tevenan plays adds a beautiful, haunting layer to the performance. All in all, I’m very pleased with the entire production. The mood of this play is magical, melancholic and fun. It’s a perfect fit for Macha Monkey’s mission to producer fearless, funny, female-driven theatre.”
“Lollyville” performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. at the Richard Hugo House (1634 11th Avenue). General admission costs $18; discounts are available to students and seniors presenting IDs. More information is available at www.machamonkey.org.