Not just for moms

When a show gets hyped, it's sometimes hard not to be skeptical. I have to admit, walking into the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island and being greeted by a sign declaring “Mom's the Word contains strong language and brief parental nudity,” I caught a whiff of cheesy wordplay wafting off the freshly xeroxed text. Seeing as my mom was out of town, I was taking care of myself and a couple of hairless cats, and now I had to go to a play of questionable quality.

Mom's the Word: Remixed is a compilation of two previous works by the Mom's the Word Collective (composed of writer/performers Linda A. Carson, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams) entitled Mom's the Word and Mom's the Word 2: Unhinged. Directed by Australian theatre giant Wayne Harrison, the group underwent a long and painstaking process of editions and revisions to bring together two full-length plays into a single, new production. I was about to see if  “the moms,” as they are constantly dubbed, had done a good job.

So I took my seat and the lights dimmed. The audience warmed up quickly after a little under a minute of Jill Daum's highly physical monologue depicting childbirth. From then on, I was slowly swayed from my cynical expectations and then quickly sucked into a parental maelstrom of the players' imaginings, populated by eruptions of laughter and the occasional teary eye. By the time I was out the door after the show's well-deserved standing ovulation – I mean ovation – the bad pun on the flyer seemed totally justifiable (and, as you can see, I even came up with my own).

Speaking with Alison Kelly and Deborah Williams, both sang the praises of their director, Wayne Harrison, who has worked on Mom's the Word twelve times in the last ten years. Alison told me of his “incredibly detailed and demanding” style, which Deborah echoed, calling him “an amazingly perceptive director.” This was apparent in performance – all of the actors displayed a polish onstage that comes from hours and hours of hard work.

When I asked Deborah if the show was always handled with such a high degree of comedic grace, she quickly said “Oh gosh no!” But they've been at it since 1993, and their thousands of performances and years of touring Canada and the UK have paid off handsomely. When it comes to being in Vancouver, she said, “It's nice to be home.” And strangely enough, that's the sort of feeling I got at the Arts Club Theatre. It has a warm, happy atmosphere that really suits the play.

At this point you're probably wondering why exactly you, average Cap Courier reader, should see a play about being a mom. I didn't think it was for me either. But when the jokes revved up, they were funny to everyone – definitely not just for moms. The old ladies in the crowd laughed hardest at what you might think of as the most vulgar parts (one example: “I long for the days when the drying semen reassured me of his undying love”). My favourite bits were about childhood and being a teenager, which was, lets face it, an awkward time that we are all glad to have behind us.

For exit music after the show, “All You Need is Love” came on the sound system. That pretty much sums up any worthwhile pursuit – a category in which both being a parent and seeing this play fall. You'll leave feeling loved, and that's more than worth the price of admission. And I'd suggest you shell out the sheckles for your tickets as soon as you can, because according to Alison Kelly, “they're selling like hotcakes.”

Mom's the Word: Remixed is playing at the Arts Club Theatre on Granville Island until November 7th.

//Sky Hester

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: