A Noh and Butoh inspired exploration of the dream world within relationships, Marilyn Monroe: wouldn’t it be fascinating, using sound and video integrated with live performance, follows baseball great, Joe DiMaggio, and glamorous movie star, Marilyn Monroe as they fall out of love and begin to chase their own dream-lovers while on honeymoon in Tokyo.
Watch a Scene
Excerpt from Play - Scene VII
(in Japanese. Marilyn only understands key words)
Ladies and Gentlemen it is my deep honor in presenting my next guest, Marilyn Monroe, wife of Yankee Clipper!
Hello. It’s good to be here in Japan.
We are honored to have you Mrs. DiMaggio. Or is it Ms. Monroe?
Joe is my husband, yes. I married him. Or maybe he married me. Anyways we awoke this morning apart. And I spent the day alone in the lights of Shinjuku. I thought of my life and at that moment I felt trapped in a corner, and the next, and the next and the next…
I don’t understand what you are saying. But without a doubt your career is most assuredly unpredictable. Tell us, Ms. Monroe, have you taken a stroll through Tokyo’s wonderful gardens?
I don’t believe I understand what you are saying. But I believe myself to be in another place I had not been before. I feel myself thinking…terrible things.
Any special message for our studio audience and anyone out there…
who might be watching?
I try to swallow
I know I get lost sometimes…in the quiet…
The Phone attached to a bus stop . Marilyn gets up and answers.
Off-Off Broadway Review
Writer-director Erik Zambrano's rumination on the cost of fame, the loss of identity, and the mystery of desire loses itself in a nontraditional style of presentation that never connects with the audience. Melding Noh and Butoh staging techniques with an array of computerized projections and sound effects, he depicts Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio falling in love with real and imagined lovers while honeymooning in Japan. The result is an insular, mechanical production that seems uninterested in drama or entertainment. Zambrano clearly has ideas and a poetic voice, but he confines himself to a coterie by limiting his work's accessibility.
The projections are frequently haunting, and the choreography generates a few ethereal moments. Brian Walters' manic Japanese TV host provides a welcome dash of humor and humanity. But at the end, when Marilyn literally unplugs the show with the words "Wouldn't it be fascinating," the only honest answer I can give is no.
Presented by Zambrano Tomorrow as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the New School for Drama Theatre, 151 Bank St., NYC. Aug. 14-26. Remaining performances: Wed., Aug. 18, 9:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 26, 6:30 p.m. (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.
This article originally appeared in Backstage: http://www.backstage.com/review/ny-theater/off-off-broadway/marilyn-monroe-wouldnt-it-be-fascinating/