The Goddess

 By Paddy Chayefsky

artistic home
The Goddess

Adapted for the stage & directed by John Mossman

At The Artistic Home Theatre, Chicago

Powerful writing and strong performances make The Goddess a outstanding theatrical event

The folks at The Artistic Home have long used Paddy Chayefsky’s The Goddess script as a scene study mainstay for their theatre classes. Co-artistic director of The Artistic Home John Mossman worked for years to get the stage rights from the Chayefsky estate and he finally get Paddy’s son Dan to allow Mossman to  adapt The Goddess (1958) for the stage. The result is the first Cheyefsky screenplay ever adapted for the stage. I must report that The Goddess is a major theatrical achievement for Mossman and the creatives at the Artistic Home. This important work features a true tour de force for Lee Stark who plays Emily Ann Faulkner who becomes Rita Shawn. Stark’s performance, the best work she has done to date,  aptly captures the emotional contradictions and the deep-seeded angst  that demonstrated the life-long pains that the film star suffered. We empathize with Rita as we see her shame and her needed to capture fame that consumes her as she strives to battle her life-long loneliness. Lee Stark effectively depicts how an unloved and seemingly unwanted person can be crippled by those low self-esteem issues.

 the artistic home

The Goddess cover Rita’s early life in rural South where we get a glimpse into Rita’s psyche. We see her as an abandoned child then a teenage mother who abandons her child as the cycle of life repeats. Rita craves fame as she connives and struggles to get to Hollywood in search of film stardom. Her journey is an in depth character study as well as a cautionary tale about the fleeting nature of fame.

artistic home

Director John Mossman’s production uses video in a newsreel format to chronicle the dare, time and location. He has a dedicated ensemble that deftly augments the main characters in Rita’s life. Maria Stephens, as the mother and Josh Odor as Dutch Seymour were particularly outstanding. The cast of 17 players nicely adapted to their various roles with energy and proper emotions.

But, Paddy Chayefsky’s naturalistic script with his spot-on dialogue that contains sharp comments, metaphors, and quips flows nicely in this epic tale of fame and loneliness. We feel Rita’s pain and misery. We see that stardom, riches, and glory are nothing if we suffer from feeling unloved. The Goddes is a beautiful play that demonstrates how an epic film can, and does, work better live onstage especially in an intimate storefront venue.  Kudos to Mossman and Stark for rendering  such an ambitious world premiere. We need to experience the greatness of Paddy Chayefsky on stage. Paddy would be proud of The Artistic Home’s production of The Goddess. Let’s hope  to see Marty, Network. and The Bachelor Party at the Artistic Home in the coming years. But, for now, catch The Goddess – you’ll be glad you did.

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: October 6, 2013

Jeff Recommended 

For more info checkout The Goddess page at theatreinchicago.com

At the Artistic Home, 1367 w. Grand, Chicago, IL, CALL 866-811-4111, www.theartistichome.org,  tickets $28, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays &  Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through November 17, 2013

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