Review: Motherhood Out Loud
A collection of short plays celebrate moms' trials and tribulations.
Wed Oct 5 2011
Photograph: James Leynse
Motherhood Out Loud
Motherhood Out Loud at 59E59
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>2/5
For an anthology show that purports to celebrate maternity, it's telling that the two most powerful pieces are written by men. David Cale's Elizabeth, about a middle-aged man who moves back in with his senile mother, and Marco Pennette's If We're Using a Surrogate, How Come I'm the One with Morning Sickness, centering on an extremely neurotic gay dad, are insightful, moving and leave you wanting more—something that can't be said about the rest of this grab bag of playlets.
Despite the involvement of several highly accomplished female playwrights (including Brooke Berman, Jessica Goldberg, Theresa Rebeck and Beth Henley), most of the entries feel like they're still gestating. Instead of fleshed-out situations and characters, we get a parade of parenting clichs—the cross-dressing son, the sleep deprived mom, the resentful mother-in-law—all of which have been covered with more depth and originality on dozens of mommy blogs.
The four ensemble members are pros (the always versatile Lecesne fares best) and never embarrass themselves, regardless of what they have to say, like earnestly comparing motherhood to Kegel exercises (really?). Though clearly heartfelt, the predictable Motherhood Out Loud ultimately has very little to shout about.