"Secrets of a Soccer Mom" by Kathleen Cook at Stage Door Players, March 22, 2019 - April 14, 2019
Since the site is not allowing the posting of reviews in its normal place, the backlog of my reviews will be going to the forum
Title: Secrets Revealed
Kathleen Clark’s "Secrets of a Soccer Mom" isn’t the most compelling play. We see three mothers on breaks from mother-son soccer matches as they reveal bits and pieces of their life stories and lay out their game plans. We have a laid-back mother (Brittani Minnieweather), a fitness-obsessed mother (Hannah Morris), and an acerbic mother (Adena Brumer). Their stated intention of letting the boys win slowly changes into self-empowerment, bringing a happy ending for all.
The theatrical nature of the play is emphasized again and again as the women pretend to hear voices from offstage, then run off to interact with unseen children and adults. Rial Ellsworth’s sound design fills the pre-show with the sounds of children playing, but there’s deafening silence during the intervals when the women hear offstage voices. The silence breaks up the momentum of the play, and the absence of a world outside the stage gives a feeling of emptiness.
Chuck Welcome’s set design shows us a grass lawn flanked by brick and stone and metal walls. A curved cyclorama behind it all shows stylized trees on either side and slowly-moving clouds on a sweet blue sky in Bradley Bergeron’s projections. Jim Alford’s costumes and Kathy Ellsworth’s props all revolve around what one might see on a normal soccer field where women come prepared to occupy themselves during downtime. Nothing exciting, but all appropriate.
Suehyla El-Attar’s direction has its highpoints. Near the end, we have J.D. Williams’ lighting design showing red on the cyclorama as the three women appear in separate spotlights, very effectively. Overall, though, the production doesn’t ever really cohere. Ms. Brumer’s acidic acerbity is pretty low-key. Ms. Minnieweather has a very expressive face, so some of her expressions get nice audience reactions, but her performance otherwise is low-key. Ms. Morris ably portrays a woman who keeps eternally active, but her quiet determination is similarly low-key. The production never really catches fire.