On Sunday, May 12, 2013 – Mother’s Day, the second annual production of Listen to Your Mother was held at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Listen to Your Mother is an Ann Imig production. Ann Imig, the National Director of Listen to Your Mother is a writer herself and began to find her voice through blogging. Imig created Listen to Your Mother in search of a larger audience for her voice and voices of other mothers online. Since directing the first LTYM (Listen to Your Mother) performance in 2010, the interest grew tremendously. This year writers read their own words in 24 different cities within the United States, but only one year ago it was only ten. This year local writers and performers consisted of talented women and men – mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and a son.Listen to Your Mother supports mothers and families and is thrilled to announce that this year’s production donated 10% of ticket sales towards local cause, Family-to-Family: Share Your Bounty. Established in 2003 by Pam Koner, Family-to-Family: Share Your Bounty is a non-profit organization mainly driven by volunteers, and connects families who have enough to share, with families who have profoundly less. Dedicated to increasing possibilities for families (mostly those with children) in urban, rural, impoverished areas, and often-forgotten communities through monthly food donations, book donations, and further more. The organizations number one mission is to alleviate the most common symptom of poverty – hunger. To learn more about Family-to-Family and how you can become involved, click here. This production of Listen to Your Mother was sponsored by BlogHer and 19 local sponsors, a few being: Tooth Works, Spoonable – Brooklyn’s Saucy Caramel, Prenatal Yoga Center, and Culture Mom Media.
During the production artists told stories of their own personal experiences and journey as a mother, daughter, grandmother, or son. This years cast consisted of: Amy Wilson, Varda Steinhardt, Laura Pruden, Rebecca Land Soodak, Sofia Quintero, Nichole Goodwin, Sasha Schreiner, Susan Buttenwieser, Marinka, Stacy Morrison, Jamie Fernandez, Deborah “Momma D” Gray, Sandy Rustin, Tracy Beckerman, Virginia Watkins, Mary Beth Coudal, Nivea Castro, Kim Forde, Barabara Patrick, Elizabeth H. Robinson, and Shari Simpson. The event was directed by Amy Wilson, Varda Steinhardt, and Holly Rosen Fink. Click here to more about each individual member.Throughout the show audience members were heartfelt in tears or laughter. Writer, Sofia Quintero, read “Not Your Mother’s Cancer.” This piece was about how her breast cancer brought more heartache and struggling upon her mother than it did to herself. Quintero spoke about how her mother originally wanted her to keep her cancer a secret from her friends and family, but later grew to accept the fact that her daughter had to fight cancer her own way. This emotional story brought the audience into tears, listening to how deep a mother is affected when her child is ill. One of my personal favorites was written by Nicole Goodwin. Nicole Goodwin wrote “Mother and Child.” This was about a damaged family living in the projects in the Bronx; the father an alcoholic, the mother distant from her child, and the daughter feeling rage and fear. The story ends with the daughter telling the mother she is leaving to enlist, hoping her mother would reach out to her, but all she hears is “bye.”
Not only were audience members crying tears of sorrow, but also tears of joy. Marinka read “It’s Always Bad News.” This piece was about how her son had got hit in the eye with ball during the school day and the school nurse called her asking her to pick him up. Come to find out, her sons eye was not swollen at all and he just did not want to do homework that evening. Marinka had the crowd laughing about her overall message that – “whenever the school calls it can never be good, you should just block the number.” Mary Beth Coudal read “Taking Out the Trash.” This reading had the audience aching with laughter pains. The story discussed how a mother asked her son to help her take out the trash. The reading discussed how this simple task was truly not so simple after all, and led to ultimate frustration. The audience was able to relate easily to Mary Beth’s anger because very parent has felt anger with his or her child. Each writer used vivid descriptions, colorful language, and discussed issues common to the everyday family.
Writers wrote about topics such as their children struggling to belong or learning to live with Autism or Dyslexia, the embarrassment of having your mom yell at you in public, the words you truly mean as a mother, moments of anger, love, fear, and much more. Each reading gave the audience a feeling of reassurance, assuring the mothers, daughters, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons and so forth that they are not alone in the consent battle of family survival and support. Next year for the third annual production of Listen to Your Mother, bring your family and become connected through laughter, tears, and similarities.