Actor and playwright Nicolle Nattrass offers her take on being a mom in Phoenix Theatre’s Mamahood: Bursting Into Light, at the University of Victoria. facebook

Mamahood: Bursting Into Light a personal triumph for writer/actor

Phoenix Theatre one-woman play reveals much of Nicolle Nattrass’ parenting story

Rae Porter

Monday Magazine contributor

Mamahood: Bursting into Light, is an 85-minute telling of the reality – the dog-tired, puke-covered, self-losing reality – of motherhood.

Written and performed by Jessie Award-nominated playwright, actress and mother Nicolle Nattrass, Mamahood, part of the University of Victoria’s Spotlight on Alumni program, is humorous, hilarious and tenderly heartbreaking. Nattrass credits UVic with having a hugely positive impact on her life.

“I am thrilled to be returning to my alma mater,” she says. “It was there that I found my ‘home’ in the theatre.”

This is not her first venture back, but it may be her most powerful. Mamahood has received glowing praise from reviewers, audiences, and health-care professionals alike, who have recognized and responded to how the piece importantly expands the conversation surrounding childbirth, motherhood and all that may come with it. “It feels necessary, exhilarating and sometimes hard,” Nattrass admits.

This is an incredibly personal piece for her. She became a mother at 40 and endured post-partum depression, an experience she says is not often acknowledged.

“The narrative of motherhood has been portrayed in such extremes – the perfect mom in the Pampers commercial, the Hollywood version of mom in labor in the back of a cab and of course, the crazy mom on the edge trying to kill her children. There are so many, and so many are not accessible or examined.”

In a time of Instagram-fuelled expectations of well-lit ideals and #mommygoals, Nattrass and her version of Mamahood allow us to share our own parenting stories, small triumphs, losses, or to just kind of figure it out.

“For me, there are no ideals of parenthood,” she says. “For me, it is about individual story and experience. All story and experience is unique, and instead of succumbing to the pressure of trying to fit into an ideal, I had to turn within, listen and respect my own story.”

Whether you’re a parent or not, Mamahood encourages you to listen to the narratives of your own mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends. “Hearing others’ stories is incredibly impactful,” Nattrass says, “it can dramatically change how we view, support, and treat women in our world.”

Mamahood: Bursting into Light, directed by T.J. Dawe, runs Oct. 10-20 in UVic’s Chief Dan George Theatre. Discounted ticket packages for the Phoenix season, along with tickets for Mamahood alone as of Oct. 2, are available by calling 250-721-8000 or dropping by the box office.

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