Presented by The Hub Studio and Rue de la Rocket
Actors Centre Australia
21-23 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Season: 4 – 13 May
MotherLode – it’s an ode to Motherhood. But not the rose-coloured kind. This production is an ode to the beautiful, frustrating, broken and compassionate aspects of Motherhood. A diverse bunch of experiences, as spoken verbatim by 7 real working mothers. These women are kind, witty, flawed, gracious and strong. Dean Carey's production inspires reverence and gratitude for our own mothers and for the mothers around us.
As a baby-less young person, I couldn't necessarily personally relate to a lot of the stories told in the play. If anything, hearing the stories of these incredible women and the power they had to possess to handle their circumstances has removed any possible skerrick of cluckiness right out of me for a good number of years. So often in our society the role of a mother and her sacrificial love is taken for granted and is under-appreciated. From the physical and emotional toll taken during the conception, pregnancy and birth of the baby, to the enduring love, support and service so many mothers offer throughout their child's life – it’s a hefty responsibility to say the least. Furthermore, the under-appreciation of mothers is highlighted in the recent 2016 census results that reveal women do an average of 8-15 hours of household work a week, while men do an average of 0-8 hours. Of course, not all of these women included in the stats are mothers, but so often the stereotype of motherhood is constrained to the purely domestic realm, resulting in vast gender imbalances in the home.
This production is characterised by authenticity and simplicity that is really quite rare on the stage. At the beginning of the show, 7 women enter the stage holding a candle and take a seat. Remaining seated for the entirety of the show, they proceed to tell their stories in monologue form, occasionally interacting or crossing over with each other. Thematically, the verbatim text builds from surface-level niceties about their experiences and progresses into heartbreaking honesty about each of their journeys. When people do speak honestly about their lives, it is always fascinating. Not only do the actors remain completely faithful to the real women's words, they speak them with resounding truth so that the audience is captivated in their stories. The real women’s stories are treated with absolute respect, and engaged with empathetically to the extent that you forget that we are watching actors on this stage. We see a colourful cross-section of characters who get their teeth into the comedy as much as the drama inherent in life. All of the actors give wonderful performances, delightfully distinct in their characterisations and contributing to a picture of motherhood in a different way.
A ‘motherlode’ is the principal vein of a valuable mineral, like silver or gold. If you strike this principal vein, you have the greatest access to an abundance of immensely valuable resources. MotherLode restores faith in humanity by realistically depicting the stories so often overlooked – stories of tenacity, humour and love. This show augmented my appreciation of the role of mothers and mother figures, and confronted me with the insane sacrificial love my own Mum made for me. For all the love they pour out, Mums definitely deserve love and appreciation in return.