The New York theatre has another first: a show which encourages its audiences to use their cellular phones. The masochistic production in question is Steven Tanenbaum's Mono, set to begin an open run on Sept. 14 at the Off-Off-Broadway, Lower East Side theatre, Surf Reality.
The title has several meanings. Most significantly, Mono is a play in which the 13 characters, all barflies, don't believe in dialogue. Hence, there are a lot of monologues and one-sided discussions. This state of affairs should prove interesting, text-wise, since among the solipsists at this tavern are a mute and a sock puppet.
The roles are filled by actors of varying ethnic background, including Japanese, Israeli and Indian performers. Each will get a chance to play several different parts, as the performers rotate assignments every week, a la True West.
Where do audience members fit into this soup of dramatic intentions? Well, they double as bar patrons and eavesdroppers and must keep on their toes to track the overlapping theatrical arias and storylines.
Tanenbaum, who will also direct, is the author of such works as Q101 and Blink. True to its title, Mono will feature a one-track soundtrack. Tickets ar $12. Surf Reality is located at 172 Allen Street on the second floor. For more information, call (212) 358-3447.
--By Robert Simonson