Monday, 5 May 2014

Mothers - Review

Venue: Roxbury Hotel, 182 St John’s Rd, Glebe (on Friday 9th May at 8pm, Saturday afternoons 3rd & 10th May at 2:30pm; plus a special Mother’s Day finale at the TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst on Sunday 11th May at 5.30pm)

Playwright: Produced by Joy Roberts with monologues written by Jane Cafarella, Chantal Harrison, Gillian Brennan, Julie Danilis, Kate Rotherham, Kate Toon, Kathryn Yuen, Michelle Wood, Neda, Vee Malnar, Serena Kirby and Peter Shelley

Director: Cheryl Pomering, Erin Gordon, Glen Pead, Kaye Lopez and Joy Roberts

Actors: Alannah Robertson, Charlotte Connor, Clare Tamas, Feda Dabbagh, Lisa Hanssens, Lynda Leavers, Rowena McNicol, Shabnam Tavakol and Shayne Francis

Images courtesy of Richard Farland - Farland Photography via Sirmai Arts Marketing

Theatre review
If you believe anything you see online, you’ll believe that motherhood is a fanciful, beautiful state of being, where the mother’s sole purpose is now for the child alone. It’s an Instagram post with a “lo-fi” filter, a Pinterest image tagged #inspirational. In short, it’s unrealistic.

But Mothers, a collection of new monologues, dedicated to motherhood, shows motherhood not from the rosy side of maternal bliss but from the real, raw and often times rough as guts angle. Produced by Joy Roberts, herself a mother, Mothers was created from a series of monologue submissions, and what we are given are brutally honest stories.

They are told through the eyes of nine main characters, all mothers, but different types of women. There’s the teenage mother, a young woman who tells us candidly, “I don’t resent her, I just wish it didn’t happen now”. There’s the immigrant mother, whose isolation and status as a mother also going through depression truly highlight what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land (in every sense), and there’s the grieving mother coping with the loss of her child. There are so many elements in this production that it’s hard to pick a favourite, but one is sure to resonate with you.

The monologue that proved particularly telling was the one given by Shayne Francis, whose character finds that she is not as natural to the process of motherhood as she first thought. She talks of her frustrations over “mumtrepreneurs” and women who on surface look like they are doing well. She talks of the “Sisterhood”, who make motherhood look so easy. Perhaps this is a commentary on our view of mothers, and how we can’t simply see it from just the easier-to-digest angle, but that it should be looked at from a very realistic view.

Not that this play is meant to detract anyone from parenthood, or children, or families. But you will appreciate this very unguarded look at what nobody tells you in utmost honesty. That motherhood is hard. That there’s a notion around “motherhood” that makes is seem all Earth Mother, Wonder Woman, Super Mum. One character says, “I don’t hate my baby. It’s motherhood I don’t like”. It’s this exact sentiment that makes this production so valuable not just to current parents but also to any woman. You will begin to see that “motherhood” is about the journey women go from being women without children to then becoming responsible totally for the lives of their children, and how daunting, exhilarating and transformative this is.

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