You ought to listen to your mother every day, especially around Mother’s Day. That’s why, for the fourth consecutive year, our Northwest Indiana community had the opportunity to listen to people speaking from their hearts about motherhood. This year’s Listen to Your Mother cast, made up of fourteen women, performed their pieces at Memorial Opera House on Thursday, May 8.
Before the show the lovely ladies prepared behind the scenes. It was apparent that the women of this year’s show grew into a community – and a makeshift family – of their own design. Each one’s own concerns and story was a part of the whole. Led by producer/director Lovelyn Palm, the women, however personally unsure, united in maternal pride.
“I’m excited for this year because there are a large variety of really honest, vulnerable, funny stories. I feel like it’s a good variety and I’m excited to show them to the audience. I love the Memorial Opera House. The intimacy of the venue and the beautiful red curtain, and they’re just always so accommodating. It’s just the perfect place for our show,” explained Palm.
MOH is proud to again host LTYM’s Northwest Indiana show. The excitement enjoyed by the LTYM cast – many of whom were onstage for the first time – was just as rampant with theatrical veterans at MOH.
“It’s a unique program that can be put on here. It’s a fun event. Obviously, it does good by asking people to bring in donations for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana. I think it’s just especially important around Mother’s Day to hear these stories and let these women tell the stories. You know, motherhood is a thankless job, so I think it’s really nice to give everyone a chance to listen to them,” noted Lisa Stojanovich, MOH House Manager.
This year, as always, LTYM was extremely well-attended. Audience members chattered as they entered, wondering aloud about the stories that would stand out most this year. Many have attended every year, making this show an annual tradition, a celebration of motherhood.
“Motherhood was always my lifelong dream. That was the career I wanted to take. I don’t know of any better career in life than being a mother,” said Marie Sieplinga, who attended her first show with her sister to see her niece, Sheli Geoghan-Massie.
When the lights lowered and the crowd quieted, the fourteen performers took their seats in the front rows. After a warm welcome from Palm, the show really began. This next part is set up thusly: Performer’s name, title of piece, then a quote from the piece.
Donya Kolosiwsky, “The Greatest Show of My Life” – “Notes to add to resume: ring master since 2011.”
Carrie Bedwell, “Trust Your Journey” – “How badly do you want to be a mom a mom? When you see children on the street, do you want to steal them?”
Kim Jorgensen Gane, “What if I’d Said, ‘Just Drive.’?” –“We’re all bonded by exactly what the other needed.”
Tina Porter, “Painted By Pictures of You” –“You made sure your house was always our home.”
Sarah Cheek, “Dear Pregnant First Time Mom” –“All the stuff I wish someone had told me during those ‘advice sessions.’
Robyn Welling, “How to Scar Your Kids for Life” –“Life is spontaneous, kids are funny, and I am awkward.”
Deborah Leigh Norman, “Departing Holland” –“We speak the same language of love.”
Sheli Geoghan-Massie, “Preggo at Summer Camp” –“And this is how she loves: she leads with grace.”
Stacy Layman, “This Was Not What I Expected” – "I expected life to be full of rainbows and unicorns. You know, with a few dirty diapers.”
Maria Dripps-Paulson, “There’s Nothing to See Here” –“Somehow, when people see a set of multiples, their social filter falls off.”
Christine Wilson, “Watching” –“My sister was nurturing, protective, reactive – motherly.”
Amy Aldrich, “Growing Up Is Hard” –“I want them to comprehend that if they ask someone to dance and they say no, it won’t always happen. Not everyone will say, ‘No.’”
June Saavedra, “The Awful Truth” – “My eight year old son said, ‘Mom, every part of you is fancy, except for your pits.’”
Lovelyn Palm, “You Have How Many?” –“’You know how this happens, right?’ My answer to that intrusive, patronizing question is, ‘Yep. And we’re really good at it.’”
The performances were all over the emotional spectrum. Some welled eyes with tears. Some erupted in belly laughter. Some conveyed conflict and confusion. The common theme of motherhood bought the different pieces together, bringing to light the complexities of motherhood that we often fail to appreciate.
“You know, it celebrates moms. There’s not enough celebration for us. My husband and son spoil me rotten! They totally make two separate days out of it,” smiled Becky Pylipow, an attendee whose birthday is near Mother’s Day.
The audience certainly enjoyed the stories they heard. LTYM 2014 paid beautiful tribute to the institution of motherhood and all who display the unconditional love that characterizes it.
“I encouraged her, but I was like, ‘It’s like watching Lifetime or something.’ But it’s nothing like watching Lifetime – not that I would know. The variety of stories – I don’t know – it made me want to talk to my own mom about some things. I laughed, I cried, all of the clichés that are true,” pointed out Gerard Welling, husband of participant Robyn Welling, who attended with his parents.
If you missed this year’s Valparaiso performance, the show will be back next year! In the meantime, videos of the LTYM performances are available on LTYM’s official website, http://listentoyourmothershow.com/nwindiana/. Check it out and maybe send a link to someone you celebrate.
Happy Mother’s Day! Click here for more photos from the performance.