Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

No secret about latest brilliance from theatrical mom collective

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty runs July 24 to Aug. 12 at the Belfry Theatre

Multiple sold out performances for the latest Mom’s the Word incarnation, playing now at the Belfry Theatre, gives insight into the avid following the moms have garnered over their decades-long theatrical journey. Like the previous plays in the series, Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty – written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard & Deborah Williams – is filled with insights, secrets, and ribald humour as the moms bring tales of the trials and tribulations of adult children.

“When we wrote the first one about having babies, the experience of having a baby and keeping a baby alive is pretty universal. You gotta do the basic stuff and you are short on sleep and your sex drive is gone, and everybody has the same experiences. They don’t deal with it the same way because they are all individual humans but they are all dealing with the same thing,” said Robin Nichol, one of the original moms who has returned to the stage after 13 years. “Now when we got to the teenage thing and now this one, the possibility of experiences just branches.”

The original play travelled the world, first with them and then with other actors. The success continued with their sequels.

“This group of women changed the theatrical landscape, not just in Canada, but on several continents,” said director Wayne Harrison – also known as play doctor and defender-of-the-husbands.

Now, the original moms are back on stage with a show exploring how their kids are grown, their marriages have “evolved,” and their bodies are backfiring.

Harrison has been involved with the Mom’s the Word collective for nearly 20 years, having first met them in the mid-90s at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival while they were touring Australia. He eventually acquired the Northern Hemisphere rights to Mom’s the Word and started doing productions in Chicago, Glasgow and eventually in the West End of London.

“That was the beginning of a very long and fruitful relationship where they would ring me up now and then and say, ‘Hey, we’re pregnant with a new idea and would you come and be the play doctor and help us give birth to this project?” said Harrison.

The success came as a huge surprise to the moms.

“It’s like chasing a snowball down a hill. We never expected it. We thought the only people that would give a damn about it would be women in the exact same situation that we were. So the response to it blew us out of the water,” said Nichol. “People laughed at us. People who didn’t have kids, or people whose kids have grown up – everybody responded, because everybody has a mom.”

The magic recipe the moms tapped into was humorously exploiting what it means to be human, what it means to be parent or a child or a partner. Life’s embarrassing moments could be shared, because they could be universally appreciated.

“The form of theatre that they do, which is what I call theatre of recognition, is where the audience is actually participating in the storytelling because it is a mirror being held up to them. It is their stories as well as the moms’ stories that are being told,” said Harrison, who commends the moms on taking risks. “It’s easier to do a Chekhov or Shakespeare where you can go to school on previous productions, whether they were hits or failures or whatever. You can formulate your view of it or interpretation of it by either absorbing or rejecting what has happened in the past. But when you are doing new work you have no map to follow. You need to not only find the answers to the questions but that you ask the right questions in the first place.”

With success, came growing pains – both professional and personal.

They had to figure out how the business worked, said Nichol, as they were suddenly involved in commercial theatre which they knew nothing about. It is a completely different animal than not-for-profit, which is what most of Canada is, she said.

“We’ve taught ourselves a lot,” said Nichol. “And because we are true West Coast kids, we almost exploded because we weren’t getting along. Instead of going the way of the Beatles, we went into group therapy – dropped a hunk of dough on group therapy and it worked. Me, being the stoic doubter, thought, ‘I don’t need to be friends with these people, I just need some way to continue to work with them because this is making us money’. But we came out of it best friends. So, yay therapy.”

“Sometimes these things aren’t necessarily played up in our popular culture, so it is really good to have the airing and have the reflection and recognition,” said Harrison. “It’s been a terrific theatrical and human journey.”

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty runs from July 24 to Aug. 12 at the Belfry Theatre.

“It’s just a treat to be here. It’s a treat to be back at the Belfry. My first professional gig was in this theatre in 1986,” said Nichol.

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty is written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard & Deborah Williams.

Tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca. Prices are subject to change.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Mom’s the Word 3: Nest ½ Empty, written and performed by Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard Deborah Williams, is on the Belfry Theatre stage from July 24 to Aug.12. (Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Just Posted

WINE NOTES: Discovering valuable Spanish gems

Check out the Spain section of your local wine store, recommends Monday expert Robert Moyes

Victoria’s Oktoberfest brings out the Bavarian in all of us

Stein and Dine at Victoria Public Market celebrates German food, beverages, culture on Oct. 19

Restaurant Review: Authentic Mexican molé hits the spot

Restaurante la Tortilla Mexicana’s hearty, spicy sauce works well over enchiladas, writes Allan Reid

REVIEW: Mullins’ Weaksauce hits the mark, like a good hockey pass

UVic Fine Arts alumni and frequent CBC writer’s biographical storytelling show here through Oct. 19

Two local authors walk away with Victoria Book Prize

Kathy Page and Aidan Cassie each walked away with a literary award

Fashion Fridays: How to pose in photos

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sooke Philharmonic Orchestra launches new season

First up: Celebrating the Concerto on Oct. 27

Trudeau to appear on Jessi Cruickshank’s Facebook Watch show ‘New Mom, Who Dis?’

Federal Liberal leader to do sit-down interview with Canadian media personality on Wednesday

‘Joker’ laughs its way to October box office record

Warner Bros. said “Joker” grossed an estimated $93.5 million in ticket sales from 4,374 screens in North America

Ginger Baker, Cream’s volatile drummer, dies at 80

Baker wielded blues power and jazz technique to help break open popular music in the 1960s

‘Interesting mixture of emotions’: Scott Moir reflects on final tour with Tessa Virtue

Multiple Olympic ice dance gold medallists skating through B.C. during the Rock the Rink tour

It’s onward and upward for Victoria gelato artisan

After winning Gelato Festival gold, Stefano Mosi will compete at North American finals in 2020

Most Read