A paean to parenting

Special to The Ellsworth American 

BLUE HILL — I just can’t say enough about the effort, talent and enthusiasm with which the New Surry Theatre has put into keeping the shows going on during this pandemic. Not only have they found theatrical fare well-suited for Zoom presentations, they have found plays that are relevant politically and socially. Their latest production, “Motherhood Out Loud,” also is seasonally in tune with performances over Mother’s Day weekend.

Written by a collection of American writers, this is a series of short monologues in which a variety of moms, and the occasional dad, talk about the experience of parenting from the birth of their babies, to exhausting, post-birth sleep deprivation, the exasperating terrible twos, troublesome teens, scary young man and womanhood and so forth. The scenes were performed by 23 actors in several different states, who amazingly pulled it off with hardly a glitch during Saturday night’s show, passing the baton as gracefully from one mom to the next as a women’s relay track team.

Some of the stories are hilarious, as in when one mom calls out to her youngster who is having a confrontation with another tot in the playground. “Use your words, sweetie!” and then, “Not those words!”

Others are thought-provoking as the mother whose little boy insists on wearing a princess gown to a Purim celebration, and some are heart-wrenching. A mother imagines her soldier son dying in Afghanistan so powerfully you think it’s real. Then you’re relieved when she makes it clear she only imagined the three soldiers coming to her door with the terrible news. But the relief is short-lived when you realize this mother will suffer the agony of those imaginings every day until her son comes home safely. 

As varied as the stories are, they are all relatable to any mother or parent. Nor was age a factor as the actors ranged from great-grandmas to grade-schoolers. They all did a superb job, making the moms — even when their experiences differed from ours— feel like a sisterhood.

As a special bonus, it was wonderful to see NST veteran performer and director Johannah Blackman carve some time out from her own motherhood duties to join Lori Sitzabee and Randall Simons to direct and perform in this terrific show.

While “Motherhood Out Loud” is over, do keep an eye out to see what New Surry Theatre will do next at www.newsurrytheatre.org.

Nan Lincoln

Nan Lincoln

The former arts editor at the Bar Harbor Times writes reviews and feature stories for The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.

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