Review: The Goddess (The Artistic Home)

| October 30, 2013
Josh Odor and Lee Stark star in The Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)        
      
The Goddess

Adapted and Directed by John Mossman 
from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky
at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map)
thru Nov 17  |  tickets: $20-$32   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     


  
  

A glimpse into the tarnished side of Hollywood’s Golden Age

     

Katherine Swan and Lee Stark in The Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)

    
The Artistic Home presents
    
The Goddess

Review by Katy Walsh 

Screen-playwright Paddy Chayefsky penned a Hollywood exposé.  He wrote about small town, unloved Emily Ann blossoming into Tinsel Town siren Rita.  Although Chayefsky denies that she is based on Marilyn Monroe, his Rita also became entangled with a sports celebrity and drugs on her climb to fame. The glamour of her celebrity-status is tainted by the demeaning journey.  The story engages for its honest, true-Hollywood revelations.

Maria Stephens, David Vogel and Catherine Chupein in The Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)Adaptor and director John Mossman takes Chayefsky’s film to stage.  From the first scene, a vibrant Maria Stephens (Lorraine) and radiant Ava Morse (young Emily Ann) captivate.  A fast-talking, Charleston-dancing, whiskey-swilling Stephens tells her motherly tale of woe.  Watching the beautiful Morse eavesdropping adds heart-wrenching depth to Stephens’ perplexing mania.  Later, a now grown-up Emily Ann played deftly by Lee Stark mimics Stephen’s rapid-fire delivery and echoes the same sentiment.  It’s a powerful and devastating mother-daughter connection.  There are mega moments of this type of exposé.    

Mossman skillfully orchestrates a cast of seventeen in his storytelling.  The first act speeds quickly past with Stark never leaving the stage despite multiple wardrobe changes.  Mossman illustrates Stark’s objectified façade as she is continually dolled up and rolled out.   Costume Designer Lynn Sandberg outdoes herself with a dazzling  mid-century fashion show.  The heels, the furs, the dresses are vintage fabulous.  She even has a floral two piece shorts-skirt ensemble that is enviable.  Sandberg transforms the ensemble from hometown grit to Hollywood glam.  It’s a visual feast.  

In the second act, Mossman dramatically slows the pace down to focus on the relational angst between Stark and Josh Odor (Dutch).  Stark epitomizes the loneliness and vulnerability of the lost girl in a bombshell body.  She spirals between neediness and rage to the befuddled and brooding Odor.  Stark’s performance is an ongoing emotional whirlwind.  She perfectly coveys the unremitting mess of the rise and fall of a movie star.

Lee Stark, Skye Shrum, Caitlinn Emmons and Andy Monson in The Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)

This is a play about the movies.  And Mossman never loses sight of the film industry essence of this story. At one end of the stage, period film footage is projected on a large screen.  Video Designer Robert Stockwell helps determine time period in a play that spans 1930-1957.  The screen also serves to silhouette memorable moments of profundity.  Stark removes a stocking as projected fireworks illuminate her movements.  Later, a now detached Odor stands silently behind the screen barrier.  Although these type of theatrics add an aesthetic layer, they also keep the audience observing and not experiencing the turmoil. (Ironically, the play version of The Goddess is still more movie than play.)

I thoroughly enjoyed The Goddess for its talented, huge ensemble and colorful storytelling.  I couldn’t help but wonder if Marilyn ever saw the 1958 film and did or didn’t identify with it… either possibility has its own degree of devastation.  Whether Marilyn saw it or not, The Goddess is an opportunity for you to see the tarnished side of Hollywood’s Golden Age. 

  
Rating: ★★★
  
   

The Goddess continues through November 17th at The Artistic Home, 1376 W. Grand (map), with performances Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays 3pm.  Tickets are $20-$32, and are available by phone (866-811-4111) or online through OvationTix.com (check for half-price tickets at Goldstar.com). More information at TheArtisticHome.org(Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes, includes an intermission)

Lee Stark and Mike Krystosek star in The Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)

Photos by Tim Knight 


     

artists

cast

Flavia Borges, Cat Chupein, Caitlin Jemison, Nick Jordan, Michael Krystosek, Andrew Marikis, Andy Monson, Dan McEvilly, Ava Morse, Josh Odor, Skye Shrum, Lee Stark, Maria Stephens, Katherine Swan, Leah Uteg, David Vogel, Phil Wasik.

behind the scenes

John Mossman (director, adaptor), Corinne Bass (set design), Lynn Sandberg (costume design), Mikey Moran (sound design), Garvin Jellison (lighting design), Elizabeth Pineda (props design), Robert Stockwell (projections), Tim Knight (photos)

Daniel McEvilly and Lee Stark in The Goddess, Artistic HomeThe Artistic Home's "The Goddess" from the screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky, adapted and directed by John Mossman. (photo credit: Tim Knight)

 

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Category: 2013 Reviews, Adaptation, Artistic Home, Katy Walsh, New Work, World Premier

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