In May 2011, I had the great honor of reading at the Listen to Your Mother show at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, Indiana. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I loved every minute of it. Now you have the opportunity to be part of the fun in 2012.
Auditions for the 2012 show have been announced. Auditions will be Sunday, March 11 (the show itself will be on May 10 at 7 pm) and both the show and the auditions will be held at the Memorial Opera House. The place is amazing and reason enough to go on its own. But if you audition, you’ll also get a chance to meet Steph who produces and directs the show. You’ll meet me, too, which I guarantee is more exciting for me than for you, but still. Exciting.
The show is a celebration of motherhood, but if you haven’t seen the show or been a part of it, you might not feel quite clear on what “celebration of motherhood” really means. Motherhood, after all, tends to be undercelebrated. Or maybe you totally understand the concept but you don’t have any idea where to start when it comes to thinking of a five-minute piece to read at an audition, let alone in front of an audience of millions (or hundreds . . . we’re not counting).
So I thought I’d use the wonderful pieces from last year’s show as points of inspiration for your own idea. Of course you’ll want to make it your piece from your heart about your own message of motherhood, but any of these premises would give you a great place to start. I’ll start with the first six and discuss the rest in a later post. (click images to view videos of the performances)
June Saavedra, “The Sacrifices Moms Make”
June took a basic theme of motherhood (sacrifice) and categorized the different ways that theme develops in the life of a mother (personal appearance, free time, sneezing with confidence, etc.). Interspersed throughout this catalog of sacrifice were anecdotes of specific examples of the various hilarious forms sacrifice takes. June tied it all together nicely with a conclusion that thoughtfully explained how all the sacrifice was completely worth it.
Heather Novak, “Reluctant Motherhood”
Heather did an amazing job of taking a before and after look at motherhood. She told us about the transformation that occurred on her way from “not interested in having kids” to “can’t imagine not being a mom.” She shuffled between hilarious and heartbreaking, and tossed in plenty of wisdom for good measure.
Meagan Francis, “Peace Amid the Poop”
Meagan used the power of a single magnificent story to slay the audience with laughter. It was brutal and bloody and vengeful and hysterical. But that single story also delivered a seriously valuable lesson about the way a mother’s life (and expectations) change drastically in that the moments of peace become more rare, more difficult to achieve, and infinitely more precious.
Adam Kellogg, “Mom’s Favorite”
I wrote this from the perspective of a child, and I took one overarching trait of my mom’s (the fact that despite there being six of us, she always had a way of making us each feel special) and talked about how that trait played out differently in the unique relationships my mom has with each one of us kids. And my family’s just kinda funny, so the humor was pretty much built in.
Lovelyn Palm, “The Motherless”
Lovelyn just got on stage and ripped our hearts right out. The end.
(Okay, there was a bit more to it than that. Love kinda flipped the thought of motherhood inside out by telling us a story from the combined perspective of children who had no mother and from Love’s own heart, broken by the reality that she couldn’t give them everything they needed. Then she turned that idea on its head with the triumphant and compelling conclusion that she could be a mother to them with the moment she did have in their midst and that all women could serve as mothers in certain moments and opportunities when a child was in need of a mother’s love.)
Suzi Ryan, “While You Were Sleeping”
Like Meagan, Suzi used a single anecdote to capture a small sample of the essence of motherhood. What made this performance unique (and exasperatingly hilarious) was Suzi’s way of injecting her dry humor into elaborate descriptions of events that, in the moment, seem less than funny. Broken glasses. Running out of tape. Needing help taking the kids to their various appointments. Having her husband pick up food for dinner. Cutting the hair of the glasses breaker without the use of said glasses . . . okay, that is pretty hilarious on its own. The Seinfeldian (or Pekarian, if you prefer) hilarity was simply brilliant, but it all came from the events of an otherwise ordinary day as seen through Suzi’s extraordinarily witty and momentarily fuzzy perspective.