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‘Creepy’ but ‘hilarious’, Talene Monahon’s new play ‘The Good John Proctor’ opens Sunday

Playwright Talene Monahon, who the New York Times called one of the “Four Rising Stars of Theater to See This Spring,” has a new play opening Sunday at the Connelly Theater.

Monahon calls the play a “prequel” to Arthur Miller’s classic “The Crucible,” focusing on the inner lives of teenage girls who later become the focus of the Salem witch trials.

“Good John Proctor” is directed by Caitlin Sullivan and stars Brittany K. Allen (“Gloria: A Life”), Sharlene Cruz (“Flatbush Misdemeanors”), Tavi Gevinson (“Gossip Girl”) and Susannah Perkins (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) . .

Bedlam, a theater company whose 2019 production of “The Crucible” was a NYT critics’ pick, is producing the new work.

The Daily News had the chance to chat with Monahon and discuss how he’s feeling as the March 12 premiere approaches.

“It’s really been a group effort to put this show together,” Monahon said, explaining that she’s been quite hands-on in helping his work come to life.

As tech week approached, he said the team was “really interested in seeing how darkness works at this point in history and recreating it on stage, making things as dark and creepy as possible.” .

Monahon typically works on revising or reinventing history in a way that gives a new voice to people who were previously marginalized. It’s a desire that stems, in part, from his Armenian heritage, she says.

It also inspired the next project he is currently writing, which will examine “Armenian-Americans’ relationship to whiteness.”

Actors Susannah Perkins (left) and Sharlene Cruz (right) during rehearsal

As an actress-turned-playwright, Monahon has a unique professional perspective to match her personal outlook.

“There’s something about being completely inside a play, which is the experience of an actor, that you intuitively understand things that people sitting outside sometimes can’t access.”

He also said the cast has been doing “exciting work” so far in rehearsals.

For Susannah Perkins, who plays Abigail Williams, the production comes on the heels of her captivating performance as Prince Hal in TFANA’s sold-out Henry IV Shakespeare Workshop last month.

Monahon, who is good friends with Perkins and others in the cast, calls it “a dream team,” adding that “everyone in our room identifies as female or gender nonconforming, plus everyone is within the same 10 years of age.”

Actor/playwright Talene Monahon

Monahon says this dynamic made everyone feel free to engage in creative discussions and helped create a strong ensemble.

As for what to expect from the next production, Monahon says the play is not only spooky but “fun,” and will be “accessible” and “exciting” even to those unfamiliar with “The Crucible.”

“The Good John Proctor” is presented in a strictly limited engagement, March 12 – April 1, at the Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street, New York, NY).

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