Also see John's review of Take Me Out
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Inside Out Theatre Company present the one man-show MotherSON, written and performed by Jeffrey Solomon. This eighty-minute show chronicles the relationship between a Jewish mother and her gay son. The show was originally directed by David L. Carson and features original music by Andrew Ingkavet. It is dedicated to all those families, whose love sent them on a journey to understand, for in the words of the author "No one comes out alone."
The year is 1990 when a gay man in Los Angeles decides to tell his mother in Long Island that he is gay. Her disappointment at the possibility of not having any grandchildren, and confusion as to just why and how this all happened are tempered by a steadfast love for her only child. Mostly via telephone conversations, they work out the details of acceptance. For the next five years, we see the ups and downs of his relationships with men. He is actually able to grow closer to his mother by sharing this journey with her. She in turn discovers her own untapped resilience in assimilating the unexpected and unfamiliar in her life. She arrives as a stronger person on the other side of the experience, and he arrives more loved than he'd ever expected.
Many of the phrases, questions and misconceptions that seem to pop out of the mouth of our Mother are the same ones heard and laughed at before by a savvy gay community. That doesn't make them any less real or relatable to those who have been forced to face the fact that their son or daughter is gay. Thankfully, this is the story of a mother who is able to handle her concerns with tolerance and a willingness to accept her child inclusive of his sexual orientation.
The set is comprised of a breakfast/bar area and a bedroom that serves as both his place in LA and her home in New York. Solomon plays both mother and son, and is able to transition between the two characters without losing a moment of focus or energy. He is very centered and calm in knowing who these characters are and where they come from. He wisely doesn't engage in a caricature of the mother, as that would make him seem like a drag queen or Norman Bates. There is no exaggeration of feminine versus masculine mannerisms and postures. His feminine energy is captured with a higher speaking voice and a clutching of both an invisible purse and necklace. The show is humorous without being obvious, and sentimental without being sappy. Surely, this is a heartfelt tribute to parents who have gone the distance for their children. All in all, it is a nicely acted and enjoyable piece of theatre.
Jeffrey Solomon premiered MotherSON Off-Broadway at HERE Art Center, toured nationally, and was recently seen at London's New End Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland. His other show, Santa Claus Is Coming Out, premiered at the Bailiwick Theatre's Pride Festival and opened Off-Broadway at the Gene Frankel Theatre. Solomon also wrote the pilot episode for Jim Henson's CityKids, which received an Emmy nomination for Best Children's Special and won an Ollie Award for Excellence in Children's Programming. He is a founding member of Houses on the Moon Theater Company, which currently tours his plays, including Building Houses on the Moon, Tara's Crossing and De Novo. For more information, visit www.jeffsolo.com.
This production of MotherSON appeared September 10-13, 2009 at the Museum of Art located at One East Las Olas Blvd., in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. For support and resources for family, visit PFLAG at www.pflag.org, dedicated to supporting parents and their gay, lesbian and bisexual sons and daughters.
The Inside Out Theatre Company is a 501(C)3 not-for-profit organization hiring local Equity and non-union actors and actresses. In addition to their shows at the Museum of Art, they have extensive shows and classes for children, including a teen touring group. Funding for this organization is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council. For information and tickets you may reach them by calling 954-385-3060, or visiting www.insideouttheatre.org. Their mailing address is P.O. Box 267355, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33326.
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located at 201 SW 5th Ave., in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For information on the Broward Center for the Performing Arts season you may contact them by phone at 954-462-0222 or online at www.browardcenter.org.