It’s long been said that the truth will set you free. It’s a position that Mejra (Tamara Podemski) seems to take in the emotionally raw The Monument where the character insists ‘facts are better than truth’ and ‘revenge is better than sorrow.’
This is, after all, a soldier’s story where a man believed to have raped and killed 23 women postpones his own death by submitting to the will of a female combatant whose heart rages with anger.
Off to the wilderness they go, a marshy landscape surrounded by mountains is where the horrors of the past surface one at a time.
With a set made up of two dozen dangling ropes and a single chair is all Colleen Wagner’s award winning dramatic disturbia needs to illustrate crimes against humanity where a torturer is at risk of being the tortured unless there’s full disclosure of the fate of the missing.
‘They must not be forgotten,’ Mejra cries out in search of the mass grave. These agonizing five words of suffering aches for compassion but no response seems possible when the blackness of the soul refuses to capitulate.
The latitude off hostility between the two characters can be discomforting for some. But look more closely at the towering performance of the co-stars and the sound off a playgoer weeping an aisle or two away prove how powerful a story like this can move an audience.
Augusto Bitter smartly taps the creepy in Stetko with a naturally deranged pacing through taunting rhythm and pauses to heighten the suspension of disbelief.
As ‘the cruelest woman’ he knows, Mejra’s modus operandi is a complete mystery thanks to Tamara Podemski’s stage veteran status which keeps you guessing up until the very end.
THE MONUMENT by Colleen Wagner March 10 – April 1, 2018 FACTORY THEATRE, 125 Bathurst Street TICKETS $30.00 – $50.00 www.factorytheatre.ca CAST Augusto Bitter and Tamara Podemski DIRECTOR Jani Lauzon SET & PROPS Elahe Marjovi COSTUMES Samantha McCue LIGHTING Louise Guinand SOUND DESIGN by Deanna Choi