The Journal News
Love, money, monologues
By Peter D. Kramer
May 10, 2010

When the members of Pleasantville's Axial Theater began looking for a topic for their spring mainstage production, they turned to the topical.

"We said, 'What's everybody talking about these days?'" recalls Axial artistic director Howard Meyer. "Since our tag is 'original, provocative and relevant,' we decided, 'Why not take it on?'"

"It" was money.

The result is "For the Love of Money: An Evening of Monologues About Our Romance with Money," starting previews Thursday and opening Saturday at St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville.

Meyer teaches actors using monologues.

"They're a great learning tool," he says. "You learn how to work with words by yourself in an imaginary way and connect them."

Axial playwrights wrote scripts that were read by a committee and then shaped by the company.

"It's kind of a magical thing, how you put an evening together," Meyer says. "How things fit together, the actors that are right for the part, and the order of show. It has been exciting on so many levels."

Meyer's enthusiasm borders on the evangelical — it might be possible to get a tan from the energy he exudes — but even he knows that two years of headlines about money might make an evening of monologues on the subject a hard sell.

The monologues aren't about dollar signs, Meyer says. They're about people.

"When we're talking about money, is it money that we're really talking about?" he asks. "Money is the commerce of these pieces, but clearly what is going on are a lot of other things underneath that.

"It's people's relationship to money, control, fear, the way money plays out in relationships, power and love."

It's life seen through the prism of currency.

Axial — a group that has been creating new theater in its Pleasantville laboratory for more than a decade — is stretching the monologue form with this production, adding context by putting other actors into the frame.