Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Midnight on Mourn Street: A Play in Two Acts (2010)

Midnight on Mourn Street: A Play in Two Acts (2010)
by Christopher Conlon

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

I’ve read a lot of plays. I’ve even been in one in college, but none of the modern era are both humanizing and dehumanizing at the same time as Christopher Conlon’s play, adapted from his novel of the same name, Midnight on Mourn Street.
The play concentrates on two characters who have secrets. Conlon is masterful in his unexpected reveals. The audience/reader suspects a certain conclusion, but it’s incorrect. The middle-aged man, Reed, and the girl, Mauri, are both flawed, yet, despite the horror of what life has given them, are not portrayed as simply victims. They seem real regardless of their improbable circumstances. The third character, Will, serves as comic relief and a common friend to both protagonists.
The included stage directions do not interrupt the flow of the play to the reader too much. The language and subject matter preclude a general audience performance, however. Dialogue moves the plot; there is very little action. The characters themselves are so layered as to keep the audience/reader interested.
In his afterward Conlon says the book’s ending is different than that of the play. I’ll admit it – I haven’t read the novel upon which this play is based, but after reading this book, I want to.

--Karen L. Newman