Honest, heartwarming and bananas. That’s how actors describe the new play on now at the Belfry Theatre.
Mom’s the Word was originally written in 1993 by Linda A. Carson, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams, who would get together every Saturday to talk and write about their lives as new mothers. Those Saturdays were cathartic — each women revealing their hopes and fears and the pandemonium they were experiencing.
Shortly after, the mothers put together a one-off performance of their writing, offering a glimpse into the joys and disasters of motherhood, and has since been produced in 19 different countries and 14 languages.
“It’s just following the five journeys of these different women, it’s the highs and lows of being a mom,” said Yumi Ogawa, who plays Linda.
For some of the female actors, the characters and journeys that they go through offer many parallels to their own lives as mothers.
Ogawa is the mother of a three-year-old daughter and found she was able to connect to her character because of it.
“She thought life was probably going to be the same after having a baby…things just really shift for her (Linda) and I think it’s just her trying to find her place in being a new mom,” said Ogawa of her character.
“I just kind of became this very different person after Emily (my daughter) was born. I really thought before I would go back to old Yumi again, but there were just a lot of things personally — just the way I viewed the world and the focus being on Emily for the first few years…it was a hard shift for me to find who I was again.”
In one scene during the play, Linda takes a garden hose away from her daughter and scolds her — something Ogawa admits she’s had to do to her daughter in similar situations as well.
Lisa C. Ravensbergen plays Robin, the mother of a five-year-old girl and six-month-old boy, in the performance.
“There is a lot of humanizing of a woman and mother’s experience. There’s definitely resonances and parallels for myself. I go ‘oh, I have a story like that too’,” said Ravensbergen, who has a 10-year-old son.
“There’s a lot of humour in the whole play. The show is a really good representation of what motherhood is, which is all of those things in between — there’s things that are very grounded and self-aware and powerful, and it swings all the way to the absurd.”
Mom’s the Word is on at the Belfry Theatre (1291 Gladstone Ave.) until Aug. 28. Tickets range from $20 to $59 and are available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca.