There’s something to be said about the relationship between Moms and their daughters. Moms want to make sure they help their daughters avoid the mistakes they made when they were young, and daughters just want to find their own way. Moms want to dress up their little girls in ribbons, lace and pretty dresses, while daughters want to play with the boys. Moms want to keep their girls close while daughters want to fly. The special bond between mothers and daughters can’t always be explained in words, but Mommalogues, created by Sharon Lee Glassman and Gretchen Klinedinst Furst, sure does a great job of trying.
The ladies of Mommalogues, Elizabeth Stahlmann, Claire Duncan, Lisa Riegel and Sheila Stasack use their considerable talents to bring the mother-daughter dynamic to life. From the very first monologue, being a mother, in all its forms, is portrayed in poignant, touching and even hilarious ways. The monologues cover a wide range of familial subjects, many that audiences will recognize: becoming a new mother and looking a mess; being raised by two mothers; being “mothered” by a teacher, aunt or grandmother; having the strength to carry on after losing a child; the guilt of putting a parent in a nursing home.
Although all of the monologues are performed extremely well, a few are standouts. “Rocky Mom” is exceedingly funny, using familiar songs to express how hectic it can be for mothers to get their children ready for school. “For Her Own Good” touches on the anger and guilt a child feels when contemplating the decision to put a parent into a nursing home. “Rebel Without A Cause” is a hilarious take on the embarrassment and angst a teenager feels when a mother does her job. “Cassie” is a heartbreaking account about a mother trying to cope with the loss of a child. And my favorite monologue, “Generations,” touches on the importance of something as small as a personal pie plate as it is passed down from mother to daughter.
The play is being performed at the Marvell Repertory Theatre, which is a very small venue, but the space only enhances the performances and makes the monologues that much more personal. The actresses, under the direction of William Sanders, are superb, able to make the audience laugh and cry without being over the top. The only negative thing I would say about Mommalogues is that it goes a tad bit too long. I think it would be just right if it were one monologue shorter. Other than that, it is a fantastic production and I would love to see it playing for a lot longer than its original run.
Mommalogues is playing at the Marvell Repertory Theatre until June 2. The theatre is located at 312 West 36th Street, NY, NY between 8th and 9th Avenues.
Photos courtesy of Heller Highwater LLC