A live national stage show returns to Arlington later this year, and it’s all about motherhood.
Rosslyn’s Spectrum Theatre will welcome Listen To Your Mother on May 7 in the show’s final nationwide tour. It was first produced in 2010 in Madison, Wisc.
The show features live readings about motherhood by 11 local writers and bloggers, but not all the performers are mothers. In fact, director Kate Hood said, variety of experiences is key.
Perhaps one participant talks about their grandmother, or another describes the work of a friend’s mother. It is not just a show for mothers to share their stories of motherhood.
“There’s going to be some things that will make you laugh, stories that are crazy and you’ve never heard before,” Hood said. “But I think we have some pretty powerful moments too. It’s hard to say, because each person has a unique story.”
Hood worked alongside director Stephanie Stearns Dulli — a former actor previously based in Los Angeles — to choose the cast from about 40 people who audition. Both agreed it is very hard to narrow it down to a list of less than a dozen participants.
“Every year, casting feels like separating diamonds from diamonds, and this year was no exception,” Stearns Dulli said. “[One] minute I was spellbound by heartbreak and poignancy and then five minutes later in another audition, I would be laughing so hard my stomach ached.”
After participants are selected, Stearns Dulli leads a full read-through with the entire group, then meets with each person individually to give them tips on how to present and when to pause for laughter or at poignant moments.
Then on the day of the performance, those involved are led onto the stage, told where to sit, then say their first line and last line into the microphone to get a feel for being on stage. That is the closest the group gets to rehearsing their material before the event.
“It’s not very rehearsed, it’s very authentic, I guess you’d say,” Hood said.
But Hood said audiences react positively to the experience, and feel more involved in what takes place on stage.
“One thing we hear from the audience members that we talk to is that they felt like they weren’t just watching a show, they were experiencing something as a community,” Hood said. “It’s really special. It’s not just going to be entertained, it’s going to bear witness and to feel honored that somebody is letting you into their life.”
This year’s performers will be Jennifer Andos, Ejima Baker-Morales, Lou-Ann Wattley Belk, Hannah Grieco, Jessica Haney, Taylor Harris, Lottie Joiner, LaPonda Kersey-Salisbury, Rachel Nusbaum, Nina Parrish and Alison Rascher.
Tickets are available for purchase online.