Luciole International Theatre Company presents the American premiere of The Real Mother of Marilyn Monroe by award winning Portuguese playwright Armando Nascimento Rosa.
Staging the story of one of the most iconic figures and myths of the twentieth century, a few days before her death in the summer 1962, this brilliant psychological thriller gives voice to the cathartic confrontation between Marilyn Monroe and her aging mother Gladys Baker in a life-or-death scenario. Writer Anne Flèche reflects on Marylin saying: “The relation of film to theatre here exemplifies Rosa’s creative use of the borrowed quality of myth – it’s layered identities that resonate in the culture, underwriting belief, and provoking a polysemy of identity that approaches the paranoiac. (…) Rosa’s theatre is a theatre of transformation, regeneration.” As secrets are revealed and the characters transform, Marilyn's public identity gives way to an identity crisis of “misfit” vs.“superstar” that resonates deeply with today’s contemporary media- driven culture.
When discussing potential shows for our spring production The Real Mother of Marilyn Monroe was immediately Luciole’s first pick. Assistant director, Camron Alexander explains that “As an audience member I have always loved watching psychological thrillers unravel on stage, but to have the opportunity to bring to life one of America’s biggest pop-culture icons felt especially relevant.” The way that Armando Nascimento Rosa’s characters interact with their image, media portrayals, and identity feels very contemporary to many of our fears as a society today. After Clara and Camron began to dig into the script together it was clear that this would not only be thrilling and unique to bring to Houston, but a really valuable opportunity for the entire team. Armando has created a piece that demands a talented ensemble of women. Every character in The Real Mother of Marilyn Monroe must make a decision about their identity and subsequently navigate how that changes their relationships to the world around them. The play often touches on important social issues and women's’ sexuality, even if it means damaging the already fractured relationship between mother and daughter. It is then that we begin to wonder, though things are not always what they appear to be, who was the real mother of Marilyn Monroe?
To premiere this production in Houston is a incredible honor for Luciole. First and foremost, LIT strives to bring an international arts exchange to Houston. Houston is one of the most multi-cultural cities in America and needs more theatre that reflects our diversity. The Real Mother of Marilyn Monroe will be the first ever performance of the piece in English, and Armando will be joining us from Portugal to collaborate with Clara, Camron, and a very talented cast. LIT will also be holding talk backs and a panel discussion with Armando so that audiences will have many opportunities to engage with this international theatre community.
This project is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance