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Motherhood Out Loud

a Comedy/Drama
by various; conceived by Susan R. Rose and Joan Stein

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 5072

SHOWING : May 05, 2017 - May 13, 2017



Pieces written by Leslie Ayvazian, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Claire LaZebnik, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Annie Weisman, Cheryl L. West, and Brooke Berman.

When entrusting the subject of motherhood to such a dazzling collection of celebrated American writers, what results is a joyous, moving, hilarious, and altogether thrilling theatrical event. Utterly unpredictable, MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD shatters traditional notions about parenthood, unveils its inherent comedy and celebrates the deeply personal truths that span and unite generations.

Director Judith Beasley
Director Karen Worrall
Cast Cheryl Baer
Cast Stephanie Dennard
Cast Tracey Egan
Cast Jackie Estafen
Cast Mary Gagliardi
Cast Mary Gagliardi
Cast Aaron Gotlieb
Cast Sara Lynn Herman
Cast Nancy Jensen
Cast Jessie Kuipers
Cast Amy L. Levin
Cast Alan Phelps
Cast Julie Resh
Cast Barbara Joanne Rudy
Cast Kelly Sklare
Cast Nylsa Smallwood
Cast Emily Tyrybon
Cast Whitney Umstead
Cast Markell Williams
Cast Jacquelyn Wyer
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Shout Praises Out Loud
by playgoer
Monday, May 15, 2017
"Motherhood Out Loud" is a series of 19 monologues and scenes from a variety of playwrights, all on themes relating to motherhood. Directors Judith Beasley and Karen Worrall have gotten splendid performances out of their cast of 19. No scene goes on longer than welcome, and the variety of characters and situations ensures that interest never wanes.

The set design by the directors is simple, with three platforms arrayed onstage, each backed by a folding flat with artistically splattered paint on a neutral background. A stool sits on each of the two side platforms; the double-size middle platform holds a bench. This simple scenic set-up is all that is needed to convey a number of locations. Each "chapter" starts with a "fugue" in which three actresses (and occasionally others) stand on the three platforms and speak their interrelated stories. Actors restrict themselves to a single platform for each scene, up until the final one ("My Baby"), where Jessie Kuipers moves from one platform to the next. It’s a subtle, nicely conceived instance of blocking that signals the end of the show.

Brad Rudy’s lighting design adds greatly to the visual appeal of the production, using colored lights to turn the folding flats blue, chartreuse, and hot pink initially, then varying the lighting for each individual scene, with sweet narrowing spotlight effects signaling the end of many scenes. It’s the sort of subtle, masterful work that makes a production just seem right.

Ann Patterson’s props and the costumes provided by the cast also add to the visual appeal. Matching plaid shirts for the fugue segments in particular give the feel of a curated costume design, although all the costumes work well for their individual segments. Brenda Orchard’s sound design goes a little overboard on introductory music, since scenes flow smoothly and quickly and don’t require much to cover them, and there are a couple of times when music playing under a scene is distracting, although in one instance that’s the whole point, when its sudden absence underlines a son’s departure for college.

There’s such good work going on across the board that it’s impossible to state definitively that one performance is better than another; each viewer is likely to have a different set of favorite scenes. I particularly liked the work of the core "fugue" group (Kelly Moynes Sklare, Whitney Umstead Sinkule, and Jacquelyn Wyer), all of whom score in other segments too. Stephanie Dennard does a splendid job with "Squeeze, Hold, Release," and Amy L. Levin is spellbinding in "Queen Esther." Nylsa Smallwood brings a Muslim mother to light-hearted life in "Nooha’s List," and Alan Phelps brings real poignancy to the final moments of "Elizabeth."

It’s rare that a single director can create such a cohesive set of performances in a production; the fact that two directors split the duties on this one makes the cohesiveness even more impressive. Judith Beasley and Karen Worrall are to be commended for bringing this work to life with such a fine group of actors, in a season slot perfectly positioned for Mother’s Day. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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