Mom’s The Word is back with its third installment, Nest-half Empty. The success of the original Mom’s The Word, which tackled childbirth and general joys/anxieties of becoming a mother, premiered in the 90’s and has since been produced in countries around the world. The depiction of motherhood seen in these plays has gained a universal appeal and it’s easy to see why.
Welcome to the stage the Mom’s: Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams. No longer worrying about newborns, the ladies are back and dealing with new struggles: letting go of their now adult children, divorce, menopause and the illness of a spouse. The show is riddled with humor but in Mom’s The Word fashion it also manages to deliver thoughtful, sometimes somber, material.
Silliness is a staple of the show. The first act ends on the ladies singing as they slide across the stage on chairs with shower caps on their heads and tutu’s hugging their waists. As a throwback to the last two installments, nudity once again plays a funny and shocking role though I refuse to spoil the fun of when or why it occurs. The second act opens with the ladies energetically competing over how, when and why children should move out of their parents’ house. It takes joke after joke until the group confronts the conclusion they’ve been avoiding all along; they’re going to miss having their kids around. Moments like this are common as the theme of letting go is re-visited with humor tactfully tucked between its dramatic beats.
Throughout the show, a warm companionship between the Mom’s is felt as they work together to tell their stories, egg one another on, provide a shoulder to lean on and everything in-between. The Alzheimer’s story line in particular, which Jill Daum delves into, is the most difficult to watch. It’s clear that the other members of the group are moved just like the rest of us as they quietly watch Daum’s many monologues from the sidelines. The fact that Daum shares such an intimate piece of her and her husband’s lives make phrases like, “once you cross a line to caregiver, you’re no longer a lover” that much more potent and affecting.
This show reveals the difficulties and triumphs Moms go through during this strange time in their lives where their kids are leaving, their bodies are changing and romantic relationships are shifting. With an audience to actively listen, connect and empathize with the stories before them, it’s easy to understand why these Moms have continued to create their content. This show is for them just as much as it is for us.
For all the mothers out there dealing with these transitory years, maybe listening to a group of giggly and close knit friends might be what you need to help you along. Parenting isn’t easy and as the ladies remind us it’s a “life long experiment” you just have to “close your mouth and listen”.
Catch Mom’s The Word at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island until May 6th. Take your Mom, and if she can’t go then do yourself a favor and go anyways. You just might find a greater appreciation for the lady that raised you.