Like a prism to light, the main stage production of this year’s SkirtsAfire HerArts Festival presents 10 unique stories from as many local writers on the topic of motherhood.
Directed by Glenda Stirling, The Mommy Monologues premieres at the Alberta Avenue Community Centre Cabaret Theatre and runs March 2-12. The two-hour show, written and performed by women, features one song and nine monologues in genres ranging from comedy to thriller.
Stirling, who also wrote a piece for the production, said not all of the pieces are delivered from a mother’s perspective.
“In several of the pieces, they’re not mothers. They’re people who don’t have children, which is interesting given that it’s called The Mommy Monologues, but not everyone’s a mommy,” Stirling said. “Some of the [characters] are speaking about their own mothers, some of them are speaking about the things that are hard about children, or being unable to have children,” she added.
Festival director Annette Loiselle came up with the idea for the show and commissioned the pieces after discovering a 2015 study that found women occupy less than 35 per cent of key creative roles in Canadian theatre, despite making up the majority of audiences.
A mother herself, Loiselle said the theme is based on women who spend more time focused on their children than themselves.
“I wanted to be able to create a story that would service those women in our audience that are hungry to see their own stories not the stage,” Loiselle said. “I really was excited by the idea of bringing so many writers together. There’s a lot of very talented women writing in Edmonton so I wanted to involve as many of them as I could.”
One of those women is Nicole Moeller, an award-winning playwright and writer of The Mothers, a one-woman play Stirling directed in 2015. For The Mommy Monologues, the women reunite to tell the story of a pregnant and unprepared woman reflecting on the memory of her mother for guidance.
“From the way her mom can hold a wine glass to how her mom can always have dinner on the table,” Moeller said. “The piece is about not knowing your own mother and never really being able to, and never being able to live up to your own mother or how we think our mothers were.”
Tickets are $22 and $17 for students and seniors. Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts and should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Organizers invite those looking for lighter fare to attend Her Night Out events on March 3-4, where a $25 ticket includes wine and popcorn. March 10-12 is pay what you can at the venue for admission.
The festival has also partnered with Women’s Initiative Edmonton to host a panel for International Women’s Day after the March 8 show. Moderated by Dr. Cristina Stasia, director of instruction at the University of Alberta’s Peter Lougheed Leadership College, the discussion will focus on women as leaders.
Header Image: Actors (from left) Chantelle Han, Mary Hulbert, and Coralie Cairns bring to life stories of motherhood at the premiere of The Mommy Monologues. | BB Collective
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