Thanks in part to the efforts of several Belmont women, “The Goddess Diaries,” a series of theatrical monologues about the passages of women’s lives, is coming to the Regent Theatre in Arlington for two performances on Sept. 22 and 23.
The play’s author, Carol Campbell of Fairfax County, Va., had co-produced and acted in a production of The Vagina Monologues, and was inspired to create a theatrical experience that covered a broader spectrum of women’s life experiences.
The result, “The Goddess Diaries,” consists of a series of monologues, each reflecting a time of change, growth, or loss in a woman’s life The performances touch on varied topics: from a 17-year-old’s first gynecological exam to a 66-year-old’s reflection on her divorce to a tween’s exuberance over the success of her first girl-boy party. The storytellers range from 11 to 66 and the monologues are each less than 10 minutes long.
“They brought me into the exam room … There they are: the stirrups. My older sister warned me but I guess some part of me was thinking … I’m SURE she is just trying to freak me out.”
Since its original production in 2009, “The Goddess Diaries” has been staged several times in several states. Belmont resident Gail Erdos got a call last spring from her friend Danielle, who saw the show in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gail explained that her friend’s exuberance for the show was infectious. Danielle expressed to Gail that this was a powerful performance piece.
“Danielle was determined that the show come to Boston,” Gail told me. “The next thing I knew we were co-producing it together.”
“He said ‘I’m not going to be here when you get back.’ That was the first clue I ever had – honest to god – that my 11-year marriage was about to end.”
The upcoming production not only takes its audience on an emotional journey exploring universal and unique experiences in a woman’s life, it will help support young people dealing with cancer – proceeds from the show will benefit Our Space, Inc., a non-profit organization co-founded by Gail and fellow Belmontian Peggy Tryon that is dedicated to embracing children and teens who have faced or are confronting cancer.
[Note: I sat with Gail and Peggy recently to learn more about their experience of starting Our Space – I’ll share their stories with you next week.]
“After some reflection I decided I needed a break from my life to honor the transformation I was experiencing instead of screaming at the computer.”
The production also utilizes the talents of several other Belmont women.
Deb Belshaw, mother of two and a teacher’s assistant at the Butler School, is the narrator of the show. She introduces the women performers and speaks about the phases of life each that each woman finds herself in.
Ali Manion, also mother of two, is a music teacher as well as a Belmont-based singer, song writer, and frequent performer with her band “Ali Manion Trio.” Ali volunteered to provide the musical interludes between the pieces.
And Kathy Rushe, mother of four, is performing one of the segments in the show.
“How we wish we could save our children from the lesson they must learn about their own shadows.”
I asked Kathy, who is clearly busy with her kids, pets, helps run her husband’s business, and works part-time at St. Joseph’s church, what drew her to become involved.
“Peggy Tryon and Gail Erdos are amazing women and good friends. I’ve known them for years and continuously admired their strength and positive energy as they dealt with life’s challenges. When they decided to start Our Space, Inc. it was an impressive process to witness as they literally created an organization from the ground up. Recently, an opportunity came up to support their cause and I was happy to help. The Goddess Diaries has been an inspirational project. The stories in The Diaries are snippets from real women’s lives that everyone can relate to.”
Kathy is happy to be part of a benefit production.
“I’d encourage people to come out and support Our Space, Inc. so that Peggy and Gail can continue to do good work with children and their families who confront cancer.”
To reserve tickets to the current production, go to the show's website.