Late last year I announced my involvement with a show called Listen to Your Mother. Created by humorist (and now someone I am so proud to call my friend), Ann Imig of Ann’s Rants, the show is a “live reading by local writers on the beauty, the beast, and the barely-rested of motherhood” and is coming to NYC for the first time. My role as Associate Producer has a wide range of responsibilities so far and I have loved every one of them. I’m taking it ALL in, every step of the way.
Why? I went to a performing arts high school. I grew up watching Fame, performing in plays, from Shakespeare to Chekhov (actually my first was “Yentl”) and I flew to NYC as soon as I graduated from university because of my obsession with theater. Ever since living here, I have immersed myself in this world as much as possible without actually having a legitimate presence in the world….until now.
My new company, MamaDrama, is merging social media and theater in a new and meaningful way and I have finally entered the theater world, recently having worked with amazing theaters and shows from Playwrights Horizons to Godspell to the Transport Group. It has been an honor and thrill to step behind the scenes while working with marketers, producers and others who are so passionate about theater as I am.
But nothing prepared me for the last few days. We auditioned dozens of women (and men) to star in our show who came running to sign up as soon as word got out that we were doing this. I’d been in touch with all of them prior to auditions, scheduling their time slots and checking out their blogs (if they had them) to prepare myself for our onslaught of auditioners. We knew we would have a few action-packed, back to back days ahead of us. We literally booked every time slot and had little time to take bathroom breaks, and I was so busy nailing down childcare and moving my work schedule around that I didn’t have time to digest the fantastic opportunity before me.
Little did I know.
The last three day’s auditions in NYC for Listen to Your Mother were an embarrassment of riches for all of us. We had bloggers, writers, teachers, professional actors, lawyers, therapists, and others tell us about their most personal experiences. They all showed such bravery and courage to open up about very personal issues, some of which they had never revealed to anyone. They were moving, edgy, irreverent, funny, sweet, loving, gritty, relatable and their words came pouring out of their hearts and souls. As Ann recently wrote in a post recounting some feelings about auditions from women all over the country who are auditioning for a slot in one of the ten shows:
LTYM allows this brief window where everyday people stretch themselves far beyond their comfort zones and allow themselves to explore and share parts of themselves often hidden from the world. They expand their view of themselves and their vision for what is possible for themselves, motivated by a desire to become a part of a community of Motherhood beyond the blogosphere or their inner circle–to contribute their stories, have their say, and be received. For those of us on the casting side of the table, we get a fresh view of our community, and I believe a greater sense of compassion as a result.
This was true for me. Listening to these men and women speak about their own personal issues made me think about my own, how my own life has changed as a result of having my kids and how I am not alone feeling the way that I do about so many things.
And also, sitting on the casting side of the table, was truly a dream come true. For so many years, I have watched actors perform on stage (my stack of theater programs is miles high) and wondered about the casting process. The studio that our director chose, Ripley Grier Studios was the ultimate place to hold auditions. Not only did it make me feel like I had a starring role on the show Smash sitting as one of the casting directors at a table positioned in front of the performers, but I am sure that the studiomade all of our auditioners feel the same way. There were professional actors and dancers waiting in the halls to start rehearsals and during auditions, we heard Broadway songs being belted out by some of NYC’s rising talent.
But the loud music and singing didn’t interrupt anyone, and it certainly didn’t bring a halt to auditions. Every single person put their hearts and souls into their readings, and they inevitably have changed my life as a result.