Do you wonder what your kids will say about you when they are grown up?
How will they tell the family stories the funny ones, the angry or sad ones? My Mother's Story is a lively, well-paced series of stories from the heart to be told at the Seniors Activity Centre in Sechelt at 3 p.m. on Mother's Day, May 13.
Fourteen adults ranging in age from 50 to 91 tell all drawing on the stories heard from their parents and their own memories to honour their mothers. They are members of a Chair Acting Group that has been enjoying this amateur theatre program for two years now under the direction of Louise Phillips whose own mother, now 91, will take part.
"We've performed before for family and friends," said Phillips, "but this year we're opening it up."
The public is invited to share, laugh and cry a little.
Phillips has decades of stage credits and she has performed in three of Vancouver versions of similar projects. She received permission last year from Marilyn Norry, founder of My Mother's Story, to create a similar script with members drawn from our community.
Chair acting is similar to a staged reading in which actors are seated and reading their parts. In this case all 14 interact with each other in a cross-stage dialogue that perks up the action and makes us see how different, yet how similar, all of our stories are.
The players worked to develop their stories together as a group with Phillips shaping the scripts, and they have been honest in telling family secrets. What did their mothers look like? How did they meet their mates? How did they do in school? How did they cope with war and the great depression? Many faced hardship or suffered in childbirth. One couple hastened to be married with a wedding ring bought at the corner grocery store. Not surprisingly, a child was born a few months later. One mother was raped and the resulting child from this encounter became the darling of her life, though she had nothing to do with the father. A son recalled the poignant moment at a young age when he last saw his real mother. Others described how their mothers spent the war in bomb shelters or fleeing Nazis. But not all is tragedy.
One woman met her mate only because he couldn't get passage on the Titanic. He took another ship instead and lived to tell the tale. A Swedish mother wrote a racy novel about her extra marital affairs. Her daughter found lots of material for her own Mother's Day project by reading her mother's letters and diaries. Another mother wrote an advice column under the name of Rex. Some worked farms or taught school. All outlived their men.
They came from all over: Holland, Sweden, Australia, America, England and Scotland. They lived in Oshawa, Kitimat, Kelowna and Richmond Hill. Some of the mothers are still alive: one is a peppy 95-year-old living in Florida. Her daughter has phoned her recently to fill in the blanks in her life story. Another mother is 99 and living in Vienna where she went with her husband many years ago in his role as a diplomat. Phillips hopes her 91-year-old mother, Mary Monks, will be well enough to tell her own story that traces back to a previous generation, a time when women's stories were not so well documented.
Tickets for $10 for the one time only performance are available at the Seniors Activity Centre in Sechelt or at the door on May 13. To reserve your ticket contact Louise Phillips at 604-885-0758.