Paean to parenting: “Motherhood Out Loud”

BLUE HILL— I just can’t say enough about the effort, talent and enthusiasm the New Surry Theatre has put into keeping the shows going on during this pandemic.

Not only have they found theatrical fare well-suited for Zoom presentations, they have also found plays that are relevant politically, socially and in their latest production, “Mothers Out Loud,” a work that is also seasonally in tune, with performances on Mother’s Day weekend.

Written by a collection of American writers, this is a series of short monologues in which a variety of moms (and the occasional dad) talk about the experience of motherhood from the birth of their babies to exhausting new parenting sans sleep, the exasperating terrible twos, troublesome teens, scary young men and womanhood and so forth. The scenes were performed by 23 actors in several different states who amazingly pulled it off with hardly a glitch on Saturday night’s show, passing the baton as gracefully from one mom to the next as a women’s relay track team.

Some of the stories are hilarious, as when one mom calls out to her youngster who is having a confrontation with another tot on the playground. “Use your works sweetie!” and then, “Not those words!”

Others are thought provoking, as the mother whose little boy insists on wearing a princess gown to a Purim celebration, and some are heart wrenching. A mother imagines her soldier son dying in Afghanistan so powerfully you think it’s real and then are relieved when she makes it clear she only imagined the three soldiers coming to her door with the terrible news. But the relief is short lived when you realize this mother will suffer the agony of those imaginings every day until her son comes home safely.

As varied as the stories are, they are all relatable to any mother, or parent, for that matter, and as varied as the actors were, ranging in age from great-grandmas to grade schoolers. They all did a superb job, making their motherhoods — even when their experiences are different than ours— feel like a sisterhood.

As a special bonus, it was wonderful to see NST veteran performer and director Johannah Blackman carve some time out from her own motherhood duties to join Lori Sitzabee and Randall Simons to direct and perform in this terrific show.

While “Motherhood Out Loud” is over, do keep an eye out on to see what’s coming next.

Nan Lincoln

Nan Lincoln

The former arts editor at the Bar Harbor Times writes reviews and feature stories for The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.
Nan Lincoln

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