Sex, murder, and terrible danger lurk just around the corner in Necessary Monsters, the new reality-bending comedy from John Kuntz, author of the award-winning plays The Salt Girl and The Hotel Nepenthe. Through a series of intricately connected stories, Kuntz pulls us into the labyrinth of the human psyche for this dream-like and darkly hilarious look at the ways that we do violence and the stories we create to keep us up at night.
Nominated for TWO 2015 Elliot Norton Awards:
Nominated for TWO 2015 Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards:
Best Video Design (Adam Stone)
Best Supporting Actor (Thomas Derrah)
There’s a world premiere onstage right now at SpeakEasy Stage Company that rattled my cage; in fact, it’s staged in a cage, the audience peering in from either side as NECESSARY MONSTERS took shape before us. Award- winning actor/playwright John Kuntz and award-winning director David R. Gammons along with a cast of Boston’s best actors have cracked open a line from Jose Luis Borges’ “The Book of Imaginary Beings” and confronted us with the monsters we create to explain and expel the dark sides of our lives: the bad things that happen without, and the ugly, furious impulses that bubble up within.
Kuntz and Gammons have channelled the zeitgeist onstage, and conjured a remarkably vivid, potent underworld, the palpable truth of which reaches past our conscious experience. I mean this play lingered; the night I saw it, I actually dreamt that I saw it again, with my daughter, who in the dream got up from her seat in the audience and interrupted one of the actors in the middle of the play, tapping him on the shoulder– as I sat horrified! The actor later thanked ME for her interaction, after which I frantically searched for my daughter who had mysteriously disappeared. (Get me a playwright.) OK. That’s TMI– but this work is deeply unsettling and clearly a testament to the precision of the stagecraft, the inventiveness of the actors, and the veracity and clarity of the playwright’s vision.
- Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce's Choices
“Necessary Monsters” is an eccentric, dark delight. Like much of Kuntz’s work, the two-hour one act play is surreal and non-linear, challenging the audience from the moment they walk into the theater until the credits scroll. Don’t think I’ve flubbed the facts or that I’ve got my mediums twisted; there is no curtain call, no final bow. A reappearance of the triumphant eight-person ensemble cast (Kuntz among them) would have likely sparked a standing ovation from Sunday’s audience, but instead we hesitated and dithered about whether it was the right time to clap as we fumbled with our jackets and scarves, ready to turn to our neighbor and discuss the intertwined narratives, the souls on the road to tragedy. ... Smart set design and careful blocking keeps the constant use and disposal of props from unraveling like a dropped spool. Each piece does nestle in nicely next to the rest; as jarring as the transitions can be, they always feel right.... More than just an exercise in avant-imagination, “Necessary Monsters” is blisteringly funny and critical ...
- Susanna Jackson, Dig Boston
Puzzlemaster John Kuntz has concocted a real doozy with “Necessary Monsters,’’ an elaborate, seriocomic maze of a play now receiving its premiere at SpeakEasy Stage Company under the expert direction of David R. Gammons.
Alternately intriguing and exasperating, brilliant and self-indulgent, “Necessary Monsters’’ takes us on a journey into the darker regions of impulse and appetite while also exploring that most nonlinear of phenomena, memory. Kuntz marries elements of Pirandello and Grand Guignol as he toys with our perceptions, not just blurring but erasing the lines between reality and fiction, past and present, actual connections and imagined ones.
- Don Aucoin, The Boston Globe
By John Kuntz
SpeakEasy Stage Company
December 5, 2014 - January 3, 2015
Photos: Craig Bailey / Perspective Photo