by ELIYA SMITH
HERE Arts Center | Soho, NY | August 2022
Not Monica wants to learn how to feel good. Not Monica is obsessed with babies and sometimes likes to dress up and pretend she's Monica Lewinsky. Not Monica and her best friend, Lindee, reenact taped phone calls and disagree about whether participation in history is a moral obligation. Not Monica’s friends don’t seem to like her, or maybe they’re just living in a slightly different world. Not Monica loves William, a nice boy who only ever asked for a quick blowjob, and she hates Lindee, who might be the angel of history even though she behaves like a bored suburban mother. And then there’s Male History Teacher, to whom Not Monica can’t stop spilling secrets. Not Monica begins to pick at scabs — her own, the country’s — and everything seems bad-getting-worse. Time keeps shifting weirdly, actors won’t cooperate, and place doesn’t exist at all. She wants it all to stop and is terrified it might; she’s trying to become a fixer, but fears that the ability to influence the world means she can and will put evil into it.
MEMONICA pulls, among other things, from Barbara Walters’ iconic 1999 interview with Monica, home video of Monica's middle school production of The Music Man, personal angst, historical fact, and misunderstood memory, to tell a story about power, sex, history, need; predation and being adored and aging and death. Mostly, MEMONICA is about consumption. It is about eating, eating so much so fast until you win, hurt your jaw, hurt someone else. It is about eating until you can never be full. It is about loving attention, telling secrets, losing and also being a loser. This is a play about that. It is a play about Monica. About not being Monica. Right. A play about that.