Monday, November 13, 2017


I have practically made a career out of playing detectives.  From arresting Colonel Mustard to guessing the end of The Sixth Sense three minutes after it was revealed, my intuitive genius is unmatched.  I’m often asked to play detectives from the safety of the audience in order to limit my scathing interrogations.  Now, it would certainly be better if I were ONstage or ONscreen, but there are no small parts, only small paychecks.
This weekend, my detecting skills were in high demand with two bookings.  First, I solved the mystery of the death of a nuclear physicist in Black Coffee at Henrico Theatre Company and then I got to the bottom of the stabbing of Johnny Depp in Murder on the Orient Express at Cine Bistro.
There were indeed similarities, but there were also distinct differences, like comparing two egg yolks after they have been scrambled.  For instance, the food at CB was noticeably better than at HTC.  At CB, I was served a delightful hamburger and fries with a small cup of ketchup.  I even won a free box of peanut M&Ms for my lifetime achievements at CB, including my performance as Monique in “How can I fit three plates on this little tray table?” and my turn as Monique in “Why yes, I know this popcorn is large enough to feed a whole kindergarten class, but there are free refills, so I will have one.”  In contrast, at HTC, I had two pieces of Trident gum that I found in my purse.
There was a bit of a Poirot mustache stand-off between Tom Eichler at HTC and Kenneth Branagh at CB.  I’m not sure it was a fair fight, as Kenneth benefitted from Hollywood make-up artists and gratuitous close-ups.   While Tom’s mustache was enviably curly, it did not read to the back rows.  However, Kenneth’s face toupee was thick and layered and would read to the back of the solar system.  I also venture to guess that Tom’s mustache was actually real, while Kenneth had to rely on movie “magic.”  Kudos to Tom for out-testosteroning Mr. Branagh.  And myself , for that matter.  I had to depend on one of these:
But to more important things . . . my performances.  In Black Coffee¸ I quickly deduced that the coffee was the culprit.  In watching Murder on the Orient Express, I was confused at first by the Israeli setting, but once everyone boarded the train, I intuited that someone would die of unnatural causes.  Spoiler alert . . . correct on both counts.  Please don’t feel bad if it took you longer, I am a professional.
Having dispatched the mysteries in short order, I could focus on the intricacies of my costars’ performances.  I learned several things of note.  First, Penelope Cruz was doing perhaps one of the worst Swedish accents I have ever had the displeasure of hearing.  She sounded downright Spanish.  Second, there is a correct and incorrect way of arranging sticks in a vase.   Now, the uninformed might feel that the sticks looked the same before and after being neatened, and the truly ignorant might wonder why someone would put a bunch of sticks in a vase to begin with, but I took the oddity as an opportunity to learn and judge.  Finally, Hercules is properly pronounced Hercule.  I am glad to hear this and might consider going back to the original spelling of my name as Moniques.  I grew tired of people mispronouncing it, but the resurgence of Agathas Christies gives me hope.
It’s hard for me to pick in which mystery I gave the better performance.  It’s like when I had to choose between my smoothie additives in Monique’s Choice.  If forced, I would have to say perhaps my finer work was in Black Coffee.  There was a bigger audience for my performance, including my costars who were clearly feeding off my passionate portrayal.  While I believe I was equally stirring in Orient Express, I think I somewhat dwarfed Michelle Pfieffer’s work, and she appeared a bit intimidated by my skill.  I was told that Michelle was not actually in attendance at CB, but instead was a 2-D figure on a movie screen, but I am not stupid.  She looked directly into my eyes, as if asking me how does one chew the scenery like I was chewing my popcorn shrimp and calamari.
Indeed, I did enjoy my suspenseful weekend and have taken to playing clarinet music from my cell phone as I move around doing mundane tasks.  I feel it adds a tense atmosphere to my Zumba Acupuncture sessions.   Tenseness may seem unwanted if you’ve never seen my vast range of nervous/agitated facial expressions, but once you have been so blessed, you will wish the world was as tense as an Agatha Christie mystery.


Saturday, August 2, 2014


There's been a lot of talk lately about "slut-shaming" and "feminism."  Not in my apartment, mind you.  There, we mostly debate the benefits vs. the side effects of Latisse.  I mean it is quite the conundrum -- the longer your lashes, the browner your eyes may permanently become.  It's a horrible truth!  I now know how Solomon must have felt.  And Meryl Streep when she had to choose between her children in order to win an Oscar.  No matter what people say, I think it is not too much to ask that offspring should give their lives for a golden statuette.  You gave them that life in the first place.  It's an even trade! 

But I digress.  Swift Creek Mill Playhouse has been having quite the success with the hard hitting, feminist manifesto, The Dixie Swim Club.  Every performance features a theater full of women standing and shouting for Equality Now and Equality Forever!  Or perhaps that was just the performance I was at.  Or perhaps just my seat.  In any event, I was inspired.  I am all about womyn power  . . . at least, when it benefits me.  In the face of a particularly nice necklace, well, "Equality" becomes just another artificial sweetener.

As I was saying though, it was simply refreshing to hear a group of women announcing that it is better to be "fast."  And then drinking to it!  These ladies give a whole new meaning to promiscuity!  There is husband stealing, unfortunate side effects of what is clearly a 50 Shades of Grey relationship, and a PREGNANT NUN!  This is Agnes of God, if Agnes of God actually made sense!

Now, I will admit that the playwrights are MEN.  So, it's only natural that they put in a few judgmental, anti-women plot points.  The nun suffers agonizing childbirth in a car; God smites the women with a hurricane; there is cancer given as karma to the sluttiest lady; and there is death.  But these are a mere quibble with what is otherwise a piece of literature that rivals The Beauty Myth, The Feminine Mystique, and The Hunger Games.

The faster you are, the sooner you "win."  And you know what they mean by "win," don't you?  They are not talking the lottery, dear readers.  "O" no. 

Now, I will admit to quoting out of context, which I often do when drunk.  I believe the original scriptural language talked about "swimming" fast, but clearly that is a reference to all the "fish" in the "sea."  "If" you "get" my meaning.  Wink. Wink.  Ow, these Latisse eyelashes are rather sharp!

I believe the show closes tomorrow, which should give the ladies more time to do what they do best.  If you get my drift.   And I don't mean an ocean drift.  Or Drifty the Snowman.  Thank you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I was greatly inspired after seeing TheatreLAB’s The Antigone Project at Gallery 5 on Tuesday night. It was touted as a Devised Adaptation, which at the talkback I learned translates into “they wrote their own dialogue.” I write my own dialogue all the time, but I tend to call it “talking” instead of a “devised adaptation.” Potato. Potahto.

Truly, I’m happy they made up their own dialogue, because had they done the show in the original Greek, I fear too many people would have left the theater making the “It’s Greek to me!” joke. Now, I’m sure this joke was funny when some toga-clad Athenian made it in the olden days, but the luster is off that horse’s mouth, if you know what I mean. If you don’t know what I mean, may I suggest Sheckie’s Laugh Hut on Main Street. Not that I’ve ever been there, but order the onion rings.

The show appeared to get a lot of inspiration from media and celebrity and involved a seizure-inducing video montage of lots of famous people and the Lucky Charms leprachaun. Interestingly, I saw no pictures of myself, but perhaps I missed them during my grand mal episode in the second act. In any event, I was in the actual audience, so my fame became a sort of meta-device in the production. Had I realized, I would have worn a toga to honor Sophocles. Honestly, how an ancient Mediterranean foresaw my meteoric rise and wrote me into his classic play, I do not know, but then again, I was pretty sure Whitney Houston wouldn’t make it to 60, so perhaps the future is not as unknowable as one might think.

Back to the show. Antigone was costumed as a heroin-addict polar bear. I wasn’t quite sure of the symbolism involved, but my guess is that it had something to do with the arctic nature of modern interaction. Lost innocence is also always a good bet when trying to figure out symbolism. And generally, if symbolism is afoot, one can find a Christ figure, usually with the initials JC (for example, Julius Caesar). Many of the characters in The Antigone Project were unnamed, but I am quite certain one or more of the actors dressed in black was likely named Jacqueline Carrington, or something similar. Don’t quote me, but I feel quite secure with my guess.

The play really got exciting when Antigone was jailed by Creon for burying her brother. Now, one would think Creon would be thrilled that he didn’t have to pay sanitation workers and could use that money for a private jet, but apparently one would be wrong. Given that, in Creon’s kingdom, the dead have to rot in the streets, I can only surmise that Creon made his money in the perfume or perhaps Fabreze industry. He certainly looked as though he smelled nice, although it is hard to understand why a Fabreze executive would be a death penalty advocate. Fewer customers is always a bad thing, as any successful businessman will tell you.

I should also mention that the set consisted of newspapers taped to the floor in a sort of homage to a gerbil cage. And, in fact, in the opening sequence, many of the Jacqueline characters marched purposefully around the papers as though they were “caged.” It was a nice touch, although I think one of those wheels would have added depth of field.

There certainly was a lot going on in this production. I am not sure I recall another production that I’ve ever seen incorporating Jesus, gerbils, polar bears, and Fabreze quite so evocatively. Well, Harvey Fierstein’s A Catered Affair came close, but its treatment of gerbils was too mundane for my taste. Kudos to TheatreLAB, Sophocles, and myself.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Bright New Monique

Now!  Now!  Now!!  I could not agree more. 

The other evening I attended Industry Night for A Bright New Boise at the Firehouse Theatre Project.  I am as industrious as the next brilliant actress, so I prepared accordingly with two contrasting monologues set in Idaho, the Boise State Broncos fight song in E Minor, and an acrobatic, lyrical movement piece celebrating the 104th largest city in the United States.  (I cut the piece down to a manageable 10 minutes by excising my salute to the 103 cities that triumphed over Boise).

The showcase procedures were somewhat odd.  Although the emcee repeatedly asked for the next performer by chanting, "Now! Now! Now!", it appeared that all participants needed to wear an ugly red vest.  I was, quite understandably, tortured.  First, the red vest would cover my Potato Bowl costume, which was handmade out of french fries and chiffon.  Second, the vest would have been terribly unflattering to a figure honed through years of bulimia.  Finally, I did not receive the memo of such requirements and was, therefore, unable to prepare ahead of time.  I am certain that, with proper notice, I could have constructed an appropriate costume incorporating a red vest, but to do so on the fly was more than even I could handle, especially as the french fries were somewhat detrimental to clear thinking.

While I argued with myself as to the proper course of conduct, I watched the other performers with interest, and this is what I have to report.  (1)  Profanity is back.  (2)  The Apocalypse is a good topic for monologues.  (3)  The tech crew was asleep.  I'm sorry to point it out, but I must.  While actors were trying gamely to present their pieces, there was A VIDEO PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND.  And not just any video, but a horrifying, disgusting video about CRAFTERS.  Revolting.  I saw styrofoam, glue guns, tummy tucks, even fondant.   At one point, I believe somebody was trying to make a human eyeball out of construction paper and fabric paint.  I am sorry to have to discuss crafting before my 5pm hot French class, but I simply must call them as I see them.  How anyone can hope to create art in such a situation, I do not know.

In the end, I felt it necessary to preserve my high standards and chose not to present my piece in a vest.  Although the audience did not get to see my performance, we were all entranced by the talk of the Apocalypse.  It is a scary thought to some, I imagine, but I don't lost much sleep over it, which is a good thing, because if I get any less than twelve hours, I can't even audition for teenage roles.  In any event, the fact is, we are living in the Apocalyptic times already.  Honestly, if actors being forced to emote in red vests is not a sign of the end times, then it is possible I am not destined for greatness.  You see my point?  I realize now that The Four Horseman will not be well dressed.  In such a case, I sincerely hope that I am not Left Behind. What ho!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monique at the Sycamore Rouge

Last week, I attended a "bar performance" of Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Sycamore Rouge. I thought I was going to see a traditional play, but little did I know I would stand witness to some flagrant plagiarism. I don't know who this Picasso fellow is, but it is outrageous that he would present this piece of "reality theatre" without giving credit where credit is due!

You see, it wasn't really a scripted play; instead, as I sat in the bar, Picasso arrived and talked to his friends and drew a few things . . and voila! theatre!!! Truth be told, I was quite entertained. This Picasso had a lot of interesting things to say and some truly charming friends. What's more, I was also sitting at the bar, so the "audience" was also free to drink in my arresting performance as "Woman on a Short Stool."

But I digress. My point was that I have been performing this type of theatre for years. Everyone is familiar with my biggest hits, including "Monique Last Thursday" and "Monique Makes Breakfast, June 15, 1992 at 10:00 am." My most ardent fans are quite fond of my more obscure work like "Monique Watches A Video of Monique" and "Monique Sees a Play."

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I know. But as Mother always says, a credit is a credit and you will be hearing from my lawyer.

As a side note, it is certainly not too much to ask for Picasso to wash up prior to a performance. Good grooming shows respect for the audience. Blue paint covering most of your arms is not a good look unless you are part of the Blue Man Group. Speaking of which, the Blue Men could use a new make-up artist as blue does nothing but enhance undereye shadows.

I unfortunately can't tell you what happened at the end of the play. The alcohol at the bar was NOT prop alcohol.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Age Akimbo

I recently caught a production of Kimberly Akimbo, currently playing at Theatre Gym. This may have been one of the most evocative and groundbreaking performances I have ever seen. At last!!! Age-blind casting of ingenues! What has taken stodgy regional theater so long!?

In this play, the title character is a sixteen-year-old girl, and in this production, the part was played by someone who was, to put it delicately, a bit over sixteen-years-old. Truth be told, I'm not sure I could have passed for sixteen myself, although in a particularly favorite gymboree outfit, I come pretty close.

But really, the casting of Kimberly could have been awkward. Instead, it really elevated the play. I believe they changed lines in the script to cover up the fact that the actress looked too old for the part. This added a VERY interesting subplot about some aging disease. Extremely creative! It reminded me of the time I refused to shave my head for a role in Terezin: Children of the Holocaust. We simply rewrote the script to permit a lovely bouffant. I'm fairly certain the production did not suffer.

In any event, I enjoyed the show a great deal, even though Kimberly looked older than her parents. I can suspend disbelief with the best of them, and I encourage this type of thinking!!

I'm excited for what the future brings for Theatre Gym!! I do hope they consider The Music Man. I believe I can bring new meaning to the part of Winthrop. Or maybe simply a lovely, understated Christmas Pagaent. I have always wanted to play the Baby Jesus. What ho!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hollywood, is that you?

What ho!!!

I am exhausted from the successful production of my life's story. Thankfully, grandmother gave both mother and I a gift certificate to our favorite spa for tomorrow (no puppets allowed). I will be refreshed and smooth when Hollywood calls about casting the movie adaptation of All's Well that Ends with Me.