According to his bio, when Monte D. Monteleagre, author of When Everything Was Perfect, was young, he "wanted to be an astronaut. Then he found theatre, writing, and music. He has been on a trip to the moon ever since."
Th story: Five identical men sit at five identical desks, silently scrutinizing the others while bemoaning their own choice to turn their back on the Moon. The cast features Charlie Manoukian, Chase Guthrie Knueven ,Hunter McEachern , Benjamin Romanelli, and Richard Callender
When Everything Was Perfect, directed by Kevin Snyder, opens at the Rogue Theatre Festival on Saturday at 5:00pm. Allison Hohman had a chance to talk to the playwright about his work and festival production.
Allison Hohman: Where did you get the inspiration for writing your piece?
Monte D. Monteleagre: It was inspired by a prompt as part of a month-long playwriting event back in 2018. It was one from 31 Plays in 31 Days: It’s the first day of work, and your main character’s new job is very different from what they thought.
Allison Hohman: What is your writing process? When inspiration strikes? One hour a day?
Monte D. Monteleagre: It really depends on the state of the world. Right now, my writing process is waiting for the world to stop ending.
Allison Hohman: How did you first get involved with theater and becoming a playwright?
Monte D. Monteleagre: I got interested in playwriting back in high school when a creative writing teacher and assistant director in the drama department suggested it might be a good path for me. I went to college with that in mind having never written a single page of script. It worked.
Allison Hohman: What do you love about this piece and what will others love about it?
Monte D. Monteleagre: I love that it doesn’t really look like a play. There are five “characters” that are identical and have no names. There isn’t any dialog, just poetry. The piece is driven by its language and its themes, which the
experimental form drives into the hearts of the audience.
Allison Hohman: How important do you think it is for theatre festivals to offer opportunities for new or
up and coming playwrights?
Monte D. Monteleagre: Hey, somebody’s got to do it. Right?
Allison Hohman: Have you participated in theater festivals before? What was that experience like? What
has your experience with Rogue Theater Festival been?
Monte D. Monteleagre: Yeah, I’ve been a part of theater festivals before. It was fun! An audience my piece never would have reached got to see it and I got to see how they reacted to it.My experience with Rouge has been pretty great. They’ve been accommodating during the ongoing pandemic and have been great at responding to any questions.
Allison Hohman: How has the rehearsal and performance process differed now in Covid times vs.
Monte D. Monteleagre: Luckily, we were working on a stage version of this before the pandemic hit New York. Transitioning to digital was easier because all the stage work was done.The video work wasn’t, though. And Everything Was Perfect has a lot of talking in unison and if you’ve tried that over video chat you know where the problems come in. Kevin, the director, ended up recording
each of the actors separately and layering them over one another.
Allison Hohman: If you weren’t a playwright, what would you be doing?
Monte D. Monteleagre: Recently, I’ve been throwing myself into my film photography. I’ve sold a few prints from my Darkroom
here and I post a lot of them on Instagram. I guess I’d be doing more of that.
Allison Hohman: Any advice for aspiring playwrights?
Monte D. Monteleagre: Write bad plays. Seriously. Stop worrying if your stuff is good or not and just write some garbage. Then
just keep doing that and you’ll have some plays you really care about.
Allison Hohman: What’s up next for you?
Monte D. Monteleagre: Lunch. At this point I don’t really have a plan beyond that.
Show opens Saturday, December 12 at 5:00pm