“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you” – Maya Angelou
As of 6:00 pm on Saturday, February the 16th, my producing partner extraordinaire, Kate and I had heard 54 women (and one brave dude) share their stories.
Fifty-four voices vying for 12-15 spots. Fifty Four people willing to open up their wounds, invite us to laugh at their foibles, and commiserate in the oh-so-individual-and-yet-oh-so-shared experiences of the wildest ride on earth: Motherhood.
Perhaps it sounds trite or perhaps a touch corny to say that I was honored to sit in that room and listen to these women (and man) but I was. I sat in stunned silence as I had my heart ripped out and stomped on by one woman’s tale and five minutes later laughed so hard my stomach ached from the next story. It was the greatest emotional whiplash imaginable.
Now the tough part comes…paring these stories – all of which are worthy of being told and all of which are moving- into 90 minutes of a show. Giving Motherhood a Microphone.
When I cast a ‘regular’ play I can put out a call: Wanted: Actress mid to late 20’s, funny, Scarlett Johansson Type. And well, if you don’t get cast it’s quite likely perhaps you are more Rachel Bilson than Scarlett Johansson. It’s easier to not take it personally. I myself was not cast more times that I care to admit for simply not being ‘blond enough’. Oh yeah, the rejection hurt, but that’s the nature of the business.
Unlike casting a published play, there is no character breakdown. There is NO nature of the business with Listen To Your Mother. We have no casting wants. We have no script. We have a plan…and we have women (and men) who create the show by baring their souls. Let me tell you, it’s easier to cast a set play!
Each time Kate and I set a piece in the ‘not this year‘ pile (for truly there is no ‘NO” pile) it hurts. Physically hurts my heart. This year in between auditions Kate and I chatted about some of the women we weren’t able to cast last year wondering what they were up to, talking about their stories told only to us in the audition room. I think about the pieces in our ‘not this year’ pile and I know I will wonder next year about them as well. Last year’s auditioners not forgotten, and this year’s now imbedded into our memories.
And so I want you all to know this: you were heard.
Yes, your story was heard. We heard you, we felt your pain. We felt your struggles. We laughed until we cried and shared your embarrassment of toddler antics. After you left we repeated our favorite lines from your stories and laughed and cried again.
Maya Angelou says there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.
You told your story, and we heard you. Whether you will be standing on stage at the Synetic Theatre on April 28 or not; you told your story and we heard you. And we thank you.
Now, back to work. There MAY be cookies involved and most definitely there will be tears.