Written and performed by Nonnie Griffin, the vulnerable side of Marilyn Monroe unfolds in the self-depicting journey that is Marilyn - After. Produced by Crazy Folk Productions and directed by Peggy Mahon, the show covers a great deal of Monroe’s life from the orphanage to her last moments. The premise of the show is quite simple: Marilyn returns as if she lived to 80 years old to retell her past struggles, love affairs, and reflect on the overall Hollywood starlet that she came to be. Although Griffin presents a joyful portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, there appears to be one element missing throughout. That primal element is direction.
After eight months of strenuous research, Griffin presents audiences with a detailed journal of Monroe’s life. Accompanied by information both known and mysterious, the script is highly factual. With references from sources such as Marilyn Monroe: Private and Confidential by Michelle Morgan, Griffin presents a solid soliloquy that compliments her tremendous talent. Although unnecessary, the inclusion of other individuals who were prominent in Monroe’s life would assist in helping to deliver the plot more precisely.
As a result of the production being filled with such intensive information regarding Monroe’s life, it often paralleled an unfortunate lecture. Although not emotionless, Griffin simply told us Monroe’s story. There included moments of minor self-reflection, pondering and thought, however, audience engagement was absent at times. Audiences are presented with Monroe’s life as fact, despite the company’s intentions. Griffin timidly explores the stage rather than embracing all it has to offer, thus calling into question our understanding of Monroe as a whole.
Marilyn – After is presented by Crazy Folk Productions and runs to Oct. 19 in the Cabaret at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. For tickets at $26 plus HST, please visit http://ow.ly/CPGmM or call the box office at 416-975-8555.