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10 Marilyns

(group work for 10 performers) (2002)

This dance was made as part of 10 Marilyns, a movement workshop sponsored and produced by Links Hall, Chicago, IL.

"10 Marilyns reveals Marilyn Monroe as both icon and human being. Although full of humor, this is no cheap shot at Monroe; rather, the piece is an exploration of her place in our shared cultural fabric. Monroe is treated lovingly and respectfully in this work. Performing in the first movement are two Marilyns, both are presented as campy and outrageous, childlike and sexy - the same attributes of Marilyn presented to the world by those that created her image. Then another Marilyn comes out and the three Marilyns come to compete with one another as to which one is the sexiest, the vampiest, the most alluring, although all of them are riveting. After a few moments of sultry poses and big cheesecake smiles, the three of them begin loudly slapping their bodies, and the sound ricochets off the walls and floor. It's Norma Jean reminding herself of the reality of her own flesh, while Marilyn keeps smiling for the cameras. After this sequence, another Marilyn arrives, takes her position, and begins performing in unison with the first three Marilyns. Then, another Marilyn enters. And another. And another, until we have the ten Marilyns of the title posing and preening for us. All are dressed in black, mostly lingerie. All have blond wigs. None of them look alike, though, and the last Marilyn to enter has apparently forgotten to shave his beard for the occasion. The contrast between the typical overly feminized image of Marilyn Monroe, and a roomful of both male and female dancers of varying heights and body sizes portraying her, is a poignant reminder that we all have a bit of Marilyn in us, a public image that does not necessarily reflect the flesh and blood reality of the person we really are."

- Kathleen Duffy, 2002
Chicago, IL

Music: Various musical selections from Marilyn Monroe movies and Steve Reich Running length: 20 minutes