Having read that The Goddess Diaries sprang from an exercise at playwright Carol Campbell’s church, I must have had in the back of my mind the image of a basement room in an old building, a group of women working on something heart-felt but amateurish and fluffy. I was surprised. The production is slick and professional and the piece as a whole resonates with hard-earned wisdom.
Seven monologues, delivered by seven females of different ages, explore the various seasons of life and what it means to be a woman in each. From a seventeen-year-old’s first gynecological exam to a sixty-six-year-old’s reflection on her divorce and a tween’s exuberance over the success of her first girl-boy party, the monologues afford richly detailed but brief glimpses into each life. Such a structure would seem to invite problems – one monologue might be more intense or more interesting than the next; the piece as a whole could feel disjointed. But, with the help of director Stacey Jones, Campbell achieves a perfect balance. Each monologue is equally compelling, and a commanding narrator, a skilled drummer and a wonderfully accomplished dancer smooth the transitions between each. A singer adds her rich voice to the mix at one point.
The Goddess Diaries has a steady elegance, and that consistency of tone may be what allows Campbell to swap out monologues from one production to the next. Introducing the play, she revealed that The Goddess Diaries has been used as a fundraiser for local women’s groups.
Heavy-handed sincerity is art’s undoing. But Campbell’s touch is deft. She has patched together the monologues – each finely written and delivered and each very different – into a whole that is valuable and uplifting, graceful and sincere.
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