Above: Julie Shaw, Kelly Main and Natalie Liccardello. Photography by Manon Halliburton.
I had the chance to take my mother to see Spinning Tree Theatre’s production of Motherhood Out Loud on Sunday, Feb. 9. The play continues Feb. 13-16. In the intimate space of the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center, we watched three women and one man move through the emotions and life experiences of being a child, being a parent, watching growth, leaving the nest and sometimes returning home.
The roughly 90 minutes weaves through moments in life. While different scenes will resonate with others, I want to share the scenes I loved. Personally I loved Kelly Main as the adoptive mom who is trying to explain her love of a daughter from China. Her role as mother who sent a child to Afghanistan moved me to tears. She is a strong woman with a beaming smile and eyes that pull an audience into the reality of the role.
For the lovely Natalie Liccardello, the condemning world of the playground was probably one of the most charming scenes for her. She’s an enchanting actress who has an impish grin and a coy style to her acting. She’s a delight to watch.
OK, Julie Shaw shines and her blue eyes are liquid. When the emotions of the character she is portraying bubble to the surface, the waves of emotions are so visible. One particular scene sticks with me. She plays a Jewish mother whose son wants to be Queen Esther for Purim and she decides to allow him to do this. It’s a rueful scene and a bittersweet relationship that comes to light with lots of love thrown in.
The other blue-eyed one is Rick Truman. He gets a couple of scenes that made me laugh and cry. His scene of impending parenthood as a gay man reflects on how families are put together in unique ways in today’s modern society. The scene that brought tears to my eyes takes Truman in the role of a divorced son who moves back into his mother’s home and discovers she has dementia.
This is a play held together by the real emotions of being a parent … whether that role comes in the words mother, grandmother, father, daughter or son. We hold these roles in our hearts and Motherhood Out Loud puts it on the stage, under the watchful eyes and directions of Spinning Tree Theatre’s co-founders Andy Parkhurst and Michael Grayman. It is a mirror held up with all the humor and love that life brings us all.