My Mother's Story: a heartwarming and heartbreaking performance
Eight women open their hearts and unveil their mother's stories in a raw and genuine play.
If your children told your story, how would that look? Would it be different than you perceive it to be?
WENDY: I am pretty transparent in my life, since studying counseling and doing private practice. I am really finding the adage to be true: ”In truth there is freedom”. So, I would be okay with my sons telling my story, though it might feel uncomfortable in the passages where they laid bare their wounds around me as a mother.
There is something very cathartic about telling one’s story….or seeing one’s story told. I am guessing that we would become closer for it…even if there might be some sticky moments along the way.
SUZANNE: I can imagine my kids would have a few things to say about me if they wrote my story, but I am not one iota as interesting as my mom.
Did you have family attending the opening night?
WENDY: My brother Kevin and sister Allison came to see the show on opening night, and that was gratifying. I was a little concerned that they might feel upset or offended or exposed, but they loved the show, and enjoyed Mom’s story being told. My sister took exception to my telling of her sitting in the ‘hot seat’ at the dinner table…she felt I made her look like a moron. I defended that excerpt, saying, “Well, as a girl, I did think you were a moron for continuing to sit there.” She knows I don’t see her that way now, in fact, we are very close.
SUZANNE: My husband attended the opening and my niece was there too. She is my sister's daughter and it was very special to have her in the audience. She was very emotional about it at the end of the show, though, I must ask her what specifically affected her. Note to self.
Were there any complications you came across during production?
WENDY: Well, you are not getting the complete mother’s story from any of the mothers. You are getting a series of snapshots chosen by Marilyn and Jenn. There were some negotiations along the way around what material was being used and the sense it was making.
I had to pass my rewrites through Marilyn and Jenn, the dramaturg, Johanna, and the director; that was a bit of work. It was the same for all the writers, and actors, who might want to have changed a line, or have something else from their writer’s story highlighted.
SUZANNE: The only difficulty I had during rehearsal was the physical demands of the show. It has been very hard on my old arthritic body. Getting up from a seated position on the floor is hard enough let alone some of the jumping we have to do. If you pay attention you'll see me using the suitcase for leverage.
Did you learn anything from this experience?
SUZANNE: It was great to have another perspective on my story i.e. Jenn and Marilyn's. I had never ever, in all these years, considered that some of my mom's behavior might have been a result of the war. My sister who lived through the war never ever considered the war as an impact on my mom. Certainly the loss of her first love was always evident and that had a huge impact on my mom and Dad's marriage, among other things.
The play opened on October 18th and closed on Sunday October 28th, the anniversary of when Molly Jacobs and their family had the accident at M creek.
If you missed the play you can still experience the stories of these wonderful women by purchasing the book. Each book is $20 all of which goes to Mothership Stories Society to continue their work getting women and men around the world to tell the stories of their mothers' lives.