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Feet First in the Water With a Baby in My Teeth

a Monologue
CATEGORY :
by Megan Gogerty

COMPANY : Synchronicity Performance Group [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Balzer Theatre @ Herren's [WEBSITE]
ID# 4196

SHOWING : December 02, 2011 - December 18, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Synchronicity Theatre continues its 14th season with the joint world premiere of Feet First in the Water
With a Baby in My Teeth, written and performed by Megan Gogerty. The show will run through Dec. 18 at the BALZER THEATER AT HERREN’S, straight from its sold-out run at Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa.

This is Megan's follow-up to her smash hit Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant, staged by Synchronicity Theatre two seasons ago and named a "Top 10 Play of 2009" by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Feet First in the Water With a Baby in My Teeth features Gogerty's quick wit and sharp takes on politics, culture and parenting. Along the way, chickens are beheaded, people take pies in the face, and various public humiliations are endured.

PLOT: She’s read all the books. She should totally have this parenting thing down, right? So why has she locked herself in her bathroom, the sounds of “Dora the Explorer” drowning her tears? This chapter in Megan Gogerty’s life has her juggling motherhood, marriage, a career and her feminist ethos. Whether you’re a parent or not, a feminist or not, a Dolly Parton fan or not, Megan will have you laughing until you cry.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Figure it Out!
by Dedalus
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
5.0
Waaaaayyyy back in 2009, I described Megan Gogerty’s political monologue “Hillary Clinton Got Me Pregnant” as being “charming” but paper-thin, and I regretted that she never went beyond glib snark to show us more revealing (and interesting) levels of character. Well, here’s her follow-up, a warm, funny, moving journey into motherhood, that not only retains the charm and humor (and glibness) of her earlier piece, but delves much more deeply into her own history, her own embarrassments, her own likes and dislikes. It not only shows a character (and actress) not afraid to make herself look a little (sometimes a lot) foolish, but addresses some deeply held insecurities and doubts. And it decorates it as a funny ode to motherhood and the strength of womanhood in general.

As I wrote in 2009, the best thing about her last monologue was final segue into motherhood, into the surprises that the birth of her son brought into her heretofore politics-and-writing-centric life. Here, it’s all about the change, all about how life tends to snicker at the best-laid plans of brand-new working moms. We get a story about the joys/terrors of flying (ALONE!) with a 3-month-old, the embarrassment of what happens to your body AFTER giving birth (“the same muscles that pushed him out are what’s supposed to hold other stuff in”), the ambivalence of dealing with too-important-for-my-plans body image and all the plethora of Baby Blues we’ve come to recognize from other sources (most recently “Motherhood – the Musical”).

But we also get stories of her Mom and her Grandmother and her Great-Grandmother (the play’s title is based on a marvelous Great-Grandmother story), stories of single women raising children while living in a world that not only didn’t let them participate, but showed little respect for the impossible tasks they faced. We get digressions into feminism’s lack of understanding of motherhood, into the joys of the Dolly Parton oeuvre, into road trip to Car-henge reminiscences, and into the finer points of slaughtering chickens (don’t ask).

And we get Megan Gogerty’s insanely excellent portrayal of a character who shares her name and history, but who is a true theatrical creation. I loved how she kept the monologue casual and friendly, as if each new thought and memory and surprise were occurring to her right here and now. I loved how her first act I’m-dressed-up-for-the-theatre look (“Does my hair look okay parted on this side?”) gives way to her second act frowsy damn-it-I’m-dressed-for-comfort-and-who-cares-how-I-look sweats. I loved her final confession – “Now that he’s three, does it get any easier? How am supposed to know?” Frankly, there was nothing about this performance, this monologue that I DIDN’T love!

Performed on a (mostly) bare stage with a good-to-infinity forced perspective floor design Ms. Gogerty uses a free-standing window and two foldable foot-ladder-stools to great effect. Jessica Coale’s lighting design takes us smoothly from here to there (“there” being a very fungible commodity here), from now to then with ease and aplomb.

If there is anything to take away from Ms. Gogerty’s journey, it’s the sense that, impossible as the task of raising a child may be, it usually works out, things can be worked through, “figured out.” And, no matter how frazzled and ridiculous it gets, it’s always worth it. When asked if she regrets becoming a mother, after listing all the charmingly revolting features and irritating he-ruins-my-stuff misbehaviors, she can only respond “I can’t regret it. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry.” It’s like the old joke ..

“My son thinks he’s a chicken”
“How long has this been going on?”
“Ten years.”
“Why did you wait so long to tell me?”
“We needed the eggs.”

Well, Motherhood (Parenthood, to be honest) is filled with impossible challenges, and poop-filled clean-ups, and temper tantrums, and terrible-twos, and public embarrassments, and sleepless nights, and broken keepsakes, and constant worries. But we have to keep doing it, we have to figure out how to beat all the challenges, because, well, because we need the eggs.

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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