The famous breathy voice, hourglass figure, platinum blonde curly hairstyle, taken from us way too early, but leaving a deep impression on anyone who laid eyes on her. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson, who became Marilyn Monroe the sex symbol, paving the way for the rest who came after her, is still as fascinating as ever to audiences worldwide.
Marilyn can be found everywhere and anywhere, from tribute films such as Marilyn with Michelle Williams in the lead, to cheaply framed posters of her image at local flea markets. Even the very young are aware of her and the importance she played in film, all those years ago.
Most recently, in our neck of the woods, a lovely one-woman show titled, Nude: Beneath the Beauty Spot has opened at the Alex Theatre. Written and directed by Jayde Kirchert, the show takes a glimpse behind the “Marilyn facade” which Norma Jeane donned at all times.
Although Marilyn starred in blockbuster movies such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire and possibly the most famous of them all, The Seven Year Itch and she received the Golden Globe Award for her performance in Some Like It Hot, they paled to what she truly longed for, to be appreciated for her talent, and most of all to be loved by those around her.
With failed marriages to famous men like baseball star Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, and the not-so-secret tumultuous love affairs with both U.S. President, John F. Kennedy as well as his brother Bobby, Marilyn was extremely unlucky and unhappy in her private life, which could best be summed up by her famous quote: “Men go to bed with Marilyn. They wake up with Norma Jean.”
Nude lays the ground for Marilyn’s life by focusing on her rocky childhood, her poor relationship with her mother, and her dreams of becoming famous, through short vignettes where actress Carina Wayne portrays Monroe as well as herself, in a sort of parallel. She has the aura of Marilyn, both in spirit and physical beauty, although vocally she is stronger than the Hollywood star.
The mirroring concept, of presenting Marilyn and Carina is clever, but it took me a few minutes to understand it. Whilst powdering her nose in at a makeup station, Marilyn speaks and interacts with the audience, sharing her dreams and ambitions, then as the music begins to play, Carina leaps to the microphone and sings one of Marilyn’s famous songs, followed with bubbly commentary in an Australian accent.
Nude is split into two acts, and although they both feature Marilyn, the tones are quite different. The first is lighthearted, even when addressing the more emotional phases of her life, and the second is a bit more stark, as even sad. I was left with a yearning for more. Perhaps more detail, more story…more time? But then again, that’s how Marilyn left her fans when she died, feeling like they needed more time with her on this earth.
Citizen Theatre presents
Nude – beneath the beauty spot
by Jayde Kirchert
Directed by Jayde Kirchert
Venue: Alex Theatre | 135 Fitzroy Street, St. Kilda
Dates: Aug 13 - 23, 2015
Please note: this show contains nudity. Parental guidance recommended for persons 12-15 years. This show is not recommended for persons under 12 years.