A Girl, Her Room … and Marilyn

‘Christilla, Rabieh Lebanon, 2010’

This 2010 photograph – showing a Douglas Kirkland canvas of Marilyn on a Lebanese teenager’s bedroom wall – is part of In Her Image, a retrospective for photographer Rania Matar, at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas until June, as Natalie Gempel reports for Paper City.

“The show combines three portfolios of the photographer’s work, all produced in the United States and the Middle East … A Girl & Her Room depicts teenage girls from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in the personal world of their bedrooms … A girl in Lebanon perches on an armchair beneath a massive Marilyn Monroe poster, a pink bra hanging on the doorknob beside her … The photographs transcend cultural differences and societal labels to show girls as they want to be shown. And, even in 2018, that’s not as common as you’d think.”

‘Who Killed Marilyn’ Staged in Lebanon

Who Killed Marilyn? a new drama co-written by – and co-starring – Marwa Khalil and Raia Hardar, is now playing at the Monnot Theater, Beirut, until December 18, reports Lebanon’s Daily Star.

‘“We wanted to talk about women,” Haidar told The Daily Star. “At first I wasn’t convinced about using Marilyn as [she is] such a cliché. But then we put her in a Lebanese context, and used her to talk about how society and people look at other women.”

The play revolves around the 1962 death of Marilyn Monroe, and the suspicion that she might have lived and been killed in Lebanon. As a foreign investigator comes to town – who, throughout the play, never appears but is spoken to – several local characters from Marilyn’s life recount their own views and versions of her fate – some even confess to killing.

“It was interesting for us to pick such narrow characters and bring them to the extreme with the way they walk, the way they talk, the things they say,” said Haidar. “Cliché was the base of our work and we tried to show it using everything that’s not cliché.”

This is evident in that much of the storyline contains bizarre and comical events – relayed by stereotypical Lebanese characters.

The foreign investigator questions a Hollywood director, who criticizes Marilyn for her forgetfulness, moodiness and her diva-like behavior. He says, “Marilyn can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality.”

Khalil explained that the director is supposed to depict the brutality of the film industry at the time, as “cinema made her Marilyn and made her dye her hair blond. She became an image without a soul.”’