Monica: This Play Is Not About Monica Lewinsky is and isn’t, as the title suggests. It’s about a girl blessed with the same name and a track record eerily similar to her namesake. But at the same time, it’s about all women who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, doing things they may have subsequently regretted, presumed by the world to be the instigator of aforementioned things, and the protracted and oftentimes messy consequences.
Dianne Nora‘s script is artfully drawn, helped along by a tidy, Fringe-friendly set that makes great use of projected film footage. We hop around in time between Monica’s early and subsequent relationships , including a goofy, just about endearing instruction session on how she might be “better” at sex. But inevitably, everything after – even voting choices – is dogged by the expectations of the “kind of person” she has supposedly proved herself to be.
Cori Hundt is an exasperated lover and a terrier of a journalist. Jack Collard is the apparently naïve and well-intentioned early lover who turns out to be just as keen to profit from his relationship with Monica as anyone else. And Martin Sola is a heartfelt Sam, struggling to compete with the ghosts.
In this Me Too era, this is a timely and topical revising of a familiar story. The Clinton/Lewinsky relationship reflects the gender imbalance in microcosm. As Lewinsky’s subsequent commentary has shown, her life is now lived in the permanent shadow of that single but significant internship. Where he’s lived a life as a statesman, a benefactor and all round good guy – shouldn’t we turn a blind eye to that “minor indiscretion”? “What do you have to do to be that kind of person?” asks Monica. “Isn’t it only our actions that shape us?” Via Brooklyn’s production is a perfectly timed battle cry for justice. Catch it while you can: their last show is Saturday.