Wednesday, March 28, 2007
A Very Funny One Woman Show
Peggy Ward Tells Motherhood Like It Is
Had another hard day in the salt mines of parenthood? When you’re half hoping Angelina Jolie might show up to whisk away one of yours? Leave the kids with a sitter, call a friend and check out Mamaphobia.
Peggy Ward’s one-woman show Mamaphobia pulls no punches as she finds comic fodder in the exasperating and exhilarating experiences of new moms. Her audience of like-minded women at Charlie’s Coffee House received her March 19 show with gasps of laughter, agreeing nods, and some surreptitious tears, but this clever and quick-paced play is sure to bring up strong memories and laughs for anyone who knows a parent or a child. Ward, a Wilmette native, takes on the common experiences, (achingly familiar to this reviewer) of slogging through sleep deprivation, cruising playgrounds for new mom friends, and enduring playgroup one-upmanship. Armed with few theatrical technical tricks but the occasional sound effect and simple lighting, Ward makes full use of her own gift for mimicry, fearless body language and a twisty point of view to bring to life over a dozen characters in vivid mini-scenes.
The play, conceived as a stand up comic routine, has the rapid-fire pace and one-liner rhythm of a great comedy club piece. A character’s answer to “But how do I sleep when the baby sleeps if I’ve got a toddler?” is decidedly blue, sadly true and very funny. Another wickedly funny sequence about the (ahem) hair care procedures of Brazil had the audience gasping, then breaking into gales of knowing laughter.
Great humor doesn’t just amuse, it can heal. Ward’s show is sure to help parents, old and new, cope with the earthquake changes that children can spring on our physical and mental health, our partnerships, our friendships, and our identities.
Mamaphobia runs Thursday nights in April and May at Charlie’s Coffee House in downtown Wilmette. Tickets are $15 at the door. See www.mamaphobia.com or www.coffeehousegallery.com for more information.