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2019 FESTIVAL OF INDEPENDENT THEATRES

CC Weatherly in&nbsp;<em>Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear</em>&nbsp;from Lily &amp; Joan

FIT Review: Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear

Lily & Joan's entry into the Festival of Independent Theatres stirs the sad story of a Hollywood icon with a famous Shakespeare stage direction.



published Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Photo: Erika Larsen
CC Weatherly in Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear from Lily & Joan

Dallas — Marilyn Monroe wakes up in a mental institution; the Hollywood icon is back in the hospital because she’s overdosed again.

Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear is a new play by Dallas playwright Nicole Neely, directed by Emily Burgardt and presented by Lily & Joan Theatre Co. at the 2019 Festival of Independent Theatres. In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, a jealous duke casts out his faithful wife and newborn daughter because he thinks she’s an adulteress and the baby is a bastard. At one point, the duke’s man ordered to carry out the cruel errand, is chased by a bear, dropping the baby as he exits. Daughter lives, man devoured offstage. The playwright sees some reflections of the bard’s late romance in the real-life traumas of Norma Jean Baker, the funny, gorgeous daughter and granddaughter of abused and abandoned women. Marilyn, as she called herself, rose to Hollywood film fame, despite her three tumultuous marriages to a mean redneck, a famous baseball player and a brilliant playwright.

Here, we see Marilyn (slight, pretty CC Weatherly in platinum wig and blue scrubs) haunted by visions of her dead grandmother (loving, touching Sally Soldo) and her mother Gladys (sharp-featured, defensive Stefany Cambra), trying to battle her way out of a drug fog on an empty stage with blue lighting and three white blocks as props. A chorus of four characters in black, representing everything from accusing orderlies to the dark bear of death (svelte Olivia Cinquepalmi in a clingy satin gown), pursue the anguished actress as she struggles to defend herself against false accusations.

The tone of the play shifts from a sense of pity for the embattled heroine shrinking from a menacing animal growl in the distance to the overly melodramatic, as angry chorus members step out shouting, “Homewrecker!” “Whore” and “Murderer!” The latter is based on the fact that Clark Gable had a heart attack after working with her on a film, and she felt guilty and through he blamed her for his death.

Joe DiMaggio calls her a slut and scolds her for “medicating,” and Arthur Miller leaves her with the words, “I’m not Orpheus; I won’t follow you into hell,” referencing the bard’s sonnet about the power of music. Other echoes of his language from The Winter’s Tale and other plays are delivered by chorus members with a shift in tone, meant to make us hear the link between then and now.

The action swirls and the bear growls, but unlike the Shakespearean romance, there is no magical ending in this evocative, sad remembrance of a woman. We are, however, left with a sense that “like mother, like daughter,” might also mean that these poor women are also forgiving and supporting, despite the husbands, doctors and fathers who left them behind.  

 

» Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear is performed in the following performance blocks:

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18
  • 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20
  • 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27
  • 8 p.m. Frirday, Aug. 2

» The 21st annual Festival of Independent Theatres runs through Aug. 3, 2019 at The Bath House Cultural Center. For more information, visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.org or call 1-800-617-6904.

To see a breakdown of the groups and shows, go here.

To see reviews and more coverage of FIT, see our special section here.

 

2019 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

*denotes first appearance in the festival

 

THURSDAY, JULY 18, 2019 (8 PM)

Leos Ensemble – small hours

Lily & Joan Theatre Company – Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear

 

FRIDAY JULY 19, 2019 (8 PM)

*Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

*WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

 

FRIDAY JULY 19, 2019 (10 PM)

CABARET

*Jodi Crawford Wright in Songs My Mama Taught Me

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019 (2 PM)

WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

The Very Good Dance Theatre – The 1st Annual Gay Show

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019 (5 PM)

Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

Lily & Joan Theatre Company – Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019 (8 PM)

*Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

*Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

 

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2019 (10 PM)

CABARET

Kathryn Taylor Rose in Nobody Knows What They’re Doing

 

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019 (2 PM)

Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

 

SUNDAY, JULY 21, 2019 (5 PM)

Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

 

THURSDAY, JULY 25, 2019 (8 PM)

Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

Bootstraps Comedy Theater – Nerve

 

FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2019 (8 PM)

Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

Leos Ensemble – small hours

 

FRIDAY JULY 26, 2019 (10 PM)

CABARET

Jodi Crawford Wright in Songs My Mama Taught Me

 

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019 (2 PM)

Leos Ensemble – small hours

Lily & Joan Theatre Company – Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear

 

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019 (5 PM)

Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

 

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019 (8 PM)

The Very Good Dance Theatre – The 1st Annual Gay Show

Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

 

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2019 (10 PM)

CABARET

Kathryn Taylor Rose in Nobody Knows What They’re Doing

 

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2019 (2 PM)

Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

 

SUNDAY, JULY 28, 2019 (5 PM)

WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1, 2019 (8 PM)

Bootstraps Comedy Theater – Nerve

The Very Good Dance Theatre – The 1st Annual Gay Show

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2019 (8 PM)

Lily & Joan Theatre Company – Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear

Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2019 (10 PM)

CABARET

Jodi Crawford Wright in Songs My Mama Taught Me

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 2019 (2 PM)

Imprint Theatreworks – Dirty Dirty Night Squirrel

Audacity Theatre Lab – The Beast of Hyperborea

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 2019 (5 PM)

Flexible Grey Theatre Company – Sky’s the Limit

Leos Ensemble – small hours

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 2019 (8 PM)

WingSpan Theatre, Co. – Jo & Louisa

Bootstraps Comedy Theater – Nerve

 Thanks For Reading




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FIT Review: Marilyn, Pursued by a Bear
Lily & Joan's entry into the Festival of Independent Theatres stirs the sad story of a Hollywood icon with a famous Shakespeare stage direction.
by Martha Heimberg

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