THE MONKEY TRILOGY is a series of one man shows written & performed by John-Paul Hussey. It began in 2002 in a small gallery space on Flinders Lane in Melbourne with CHOCOLATE MONKEY. It received rave reviews, sold out and extended its season. The following year it was presented at 45 Downstairs in Melbourne and was critically acclaimed.
In that same year, it was nominated for 2 Green Room Awards (Best Male Actor & Best Production) & named Best Show of the Year of By ABC Radio National. It then toured to the Dublin Fringe Festival, sold out and dubbed the hit of the festival. So far CHOCOLATE MONKEY has toured to Sydney twice, once at The Stables Theatre and then at The Seymour Centre and The Melbourne Arts Centre.
In 2004 John-Paul Hussey was commissioned by The Store Room Theatre (Melbourne) to do SPACEMUNKI. It was critically acclaimed, & received a 4-star review from The Sunday Age Newspaper, later that year it toured to Dublin. Spacemunki won The Melbourne International Festival Prize for its Music Score (Kelly Ryall)
The final part of The Monkey Trilogy came with LOVE MONKEY @ The Northcote Town Hall. (Melbourne). Jo Roberts of The Age Newspaper called it, “a mighty production, a tour de force!” and Arts Hubs describing it as “a remarkable achievement…an entirely intriguing and entertaining production from start to finish…a stunning production not to be missed!” There are plans to tour Love Monkey in the near future.
The Monkey Trilogy is a project dedicated to merging multimedia with highly physical, text-based storytelling. Each new show pushes the boundaries of how far multimedia can be used in live performance. The main collaborators with John-Paul Hussey as writer, performer & producer are Lucien Savron as Director, Kelly Ryall as Music Composer and Shane Grant as Lighting Designer. The Visual Media designers are Natalie Lowery for Chocolate Monkey; Dean McInearny for Spacemunki & Matt Gingold for Love Monkey.
CHOCOLATE MONKEY is a story that speaks to anyone who knows life rarely moves in a straight line and that often, there’s no real success quite like failure. In a series of bizarrely interconnected stories, the audience follows a journey of how one man can gain and lose the world in the blink of an eye. It begins with the narrator’s disastrous attempt of putting on a one-man show and in the process losing his girlfriend, his job, his home and eventually his reputation.
Amongst all of this is a hilarious and absurd array of characters and situations. A mad Irish Funeral Director; a schizophrenic ‘pig chef’, a stocktake of a metropolitan train track system and Sean Connery as an imaginary personal mentor. Then there’s the tricky business of having to deal with an illegal performance venue run by an experimental and oversexed troupe of mud smeared dancers. But underlying the madness are two very magical Kinder Surprise Eggs that happen to reappear at the darkest moment of this story. In the end, it is the two little plastic figurines within these eggs that finally point him in the right direction, out of a personal chaos, towards a hilarious and very moving climax.
SPACEMUNKI is the future-now where the world’s information networking systems have become so vast and complex implosion is inevitable. Enter Munki-Hero: half astronaut/half satellite – Mr. Personality himself, to save the planet in the nick of time. The scientists have come up with a new ‘theory of everything’, that all knowledge and human behavior is influenced by the radiation of the sun.
The astronaut’s mission is to be blasted up into the space and to surf the radiation of the sun, as it makes its daily journey around the planet, His job, with his very special ‘information suit’, is to absorb everything that is known in heaven and on earth’ and bring it all back. If the mission is successful the scientists can then process all the information collected and hopefully reinvigorate their networking systems back to cohesive and manageable whole.
But something happens, something the astronaut sees between the bleeding fringe of the upper atmosphere and cold black space: a giant harvest field of potential personalities. This alternative dimension proves to be so beautiful and luminous it looks like the astronaut may never return to his planet earth. The dramatic twist is it isn’t ‘mission control’ that will safely bring him back home. It is his very pregnant wife who gives birth the very moment the astronaut re-enters the earth’s atmosphere, creating an oedipal dilemma of global proportions.
SPACEMUNKI is a parody of the much sought after scientific ‘theory of everything.’ A mini space opera of archetypal cartoon-like characters wrestling with epic terms, of gender biology reversing classical mythology and of information technology rewriting dream structures and traditional storytelling.
LOVE MONKEY is set during the night shift of an old hotel in Ireland. Its narrator is an out of work entertainer who now spends his nights as a porter vacuuming thousands of square feet of hotel carpet. Throughout his shift he reminisces over his past and why he has arrived at this sorry state. His only company is an obese and over demanding Bell Captain, an eccentric Indian hospitality student and the perverse wanderings of his own mind.
He boasts of his special talent for attending countless drug-fueled parties, and eventually losing precious teeth and his dignity because of it. He talks of traveling aimlessly halfway across the world in search of ‘romances’ that are always fast, but furiously never go anywhere. Each night he returns to dwell on these misadventures, imagining himself to be his own Captain Ahab, who never drowned but sank to the bottom of the ocean, and now forever cursed to walk the sea floor to contemplate his sins.
Throughout Love Monkey there are numerous historical references and literary allusions to ‘love’ and ‘water’ and how they are inextricably linked. There is an underlying theme that since ‘love’ and ‘water’ both sustain life, they, therefore, cannot exist without the other. There is also a strong environmental message concerning the depletion of this fundamental resource – namely water, as well contemporary society’s perception ‘of what love is’, and the countless ways we both use it and abuse it.
Love Monkey is a meditation on the interchangeable qualities of these two major themes, filtered through the mind of a porter who dutifully waits for a metaphorical ‘Captain’ to emerge and set him free. But ‘The Captain’ he realises has many faces, and the trick is to know which one of these ‘Captains’ will reveal to him the allusive and life-changing mysteries of the one, true ‘Great Watery Cup of Love’.