Auditions to Occur for “Motherhood Out Loud” at Grand Island YWCA

Women and men 18 and older are invited to attend auditions for “Motherhood Out Loud” at the Grand Island YWCA on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

Those who have never been on a stage as well as seasoned actors are invited to audition.

The production will be directed by Mindy Smidt and performed March 13 and 14 at College Park.

“This play reveals with illuminating insight the humor, raw emotions and rocky roads we experience in life. As I read the script, I was laughing one minute and crying the next. It’s an emotional roller coaster that honors mothers. It depicts how special women are and the impact they have on numerous lives,” Executive Director Anita Lewandowski Brown said of the play.

Those interested in volunteering in other ways or individuals unable to attend auditions can call 308-383-1312 to schedule a time to meet with the director.

For more information about the YWCA of Grand Island, call 308-384-9922 or visit

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Motherhood Out Loud in Madrid, Spain

MOTHERHOOD OUTLOUD - Barcelona - 2014

Rachel Siegel, Actress in the Berkshire production of MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD

NAME: Rachel Siegel
AGE: 39
RESIDENCE: Great Barrington, MA
CHILDRENS NAMES/AGES: George, 4, Patrick, 1 1/2

I am an actor, writer, and audiobook narrator. Some stuff I feel proud of: my theatre work here and in the UK, my three episodes of Chappelle’s Show, but especially the comedy sketches I write, produce and perform myself. Here’s my Sound of Music one: and a little bit of me doing Kate Winslet:

What was your road to parenthood like? Surprising at each turn. I got pregnant unexpectedly when my now husband and I had recently moved in but were unmarried. It was honestly the first time in my life I was not absolutely scrupulously careful about birth control. (Can’t say the same about adverbs.) I was only 34 but felt like an irresponsible teenager– I took sex ed, I knew you could get pregnant the first time you were not careful, how did this happen?? When I went to the doctor and they wrote “AMA—for Advanced Maternal Age” on my chart, because I would be just 35 when the baby was born, I laughed out loud.

The second time was another, very different challenge. We found out through a quad screening and then amniocentesis that our son had Down syndrome. We chose him, and had a beautiful, robustly healthy boy, born by surprise on our vacation on Cape Cod!

What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over? I had major baby lust when I was 22. I was in absolutely no place to have a child, but I was very close to some children I took care of, and I remember wanting a child terribly. I think sometimes, now, what that would have been like…

[Read the rest of the review here]

Review: MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD Nails Universal, Experience of Being a Mom

By Ruth Ross

Just as mothers and their children come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and temperaments, so too does the experience of motherhood. That is the premise of Motherhood Out Loud, a collection of short playlets about the joys, sorrows and perplexities of this singular state experienced by half the world’s population, currently being performed by Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at Oakes Center in Summit.

Conceived by Susan R. Rose and Joan Stein and directed by company member Harry Patrick Christian, Motherhood Out Loud is organized around five themes: Fast Births, First Day, Sex Talk, Stepping Out and Coming Home. The program features the work of Leslie Ayvazian, David Cale, Jessica Goldberg, Beth Henley, Lameece Issaq, Claire LaZebnik, Lisa Loomer, Michele Lowe, Marco Pennette, Theresa Rebeck, Luanne Rice, Anne Weisman, Cheryl L. West and Brooke Berman, work that is both hilarious and heartbreaking and shatters the standard notions of what it means to be a mother.

Switching accents and stances as easily as scarves and jackets, Dreamcatcher company members Scott McGowan, Harriett Trangucci, Laura Ekstrand and Nicole Callendar assume multiple roles to convey the joys and sadness that come with being a parent. All do such a fine job that it is difficult to single any one out for superior work.

[Read the rest of the review here]

Congratulations to Rene Syler

BIG CONGRATS to the fabulous mom/author/blogger/tv personality Rene Syler, aka GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, for receiving the first annual Motherhood Out Loud Award, given to a mom whose tell it like it is voice/words moves, supports, inspires others. Give a watch here.

Rachel Siegel on Motherhood ‘Making our way through the vast ocean’

Rachel Siegel is one of the actors performing in Motherhood Out Loud on March 28 + 29 at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, presented as a benefit for WAM Theatre and the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Below is a beautiful and honest blog post Rachel wrote about her own experience with Motherhood.

The moment my first son was born, I remember the world I knew rushing out, rather like the one one trillionth of a second after the Big Bang in which the universe began to grow outward in all directions and went from nothing to infinite. The life I knew had gone forever and a new life came at the same moment in its place. With a bright red scrotum.

There is this, that you know, if you are a mother. You are a member of a club—yay! A club they can never kick you out of. You are a Mom. Important. Beloved. Cherished. Needed. Purposeful.

I felt all this in the years after my first son was born. And then I got pregnant again and I also felt a host of other things that put me in quite a different club.

I was told, after my 15-week quad screen came back with a very high risk of chromosomal abnormality, that there was a 1 in 2 chance that my baby had “Trisomy 21, Trisomy 18, or Trisomy 13.” All the little trisomies; the first of which was familiar to me from my college biology class, the diagnosis otherwise known as Down syndrome. I remembered my college friends Chris and Peter, who also took that lecture class, inventing a game show like blackjack where the pregnant mom is told (game show announcer voice) “You have 21!!!!” Their increasingly exaggerated voices played back to me in stereo during the following months, as I anticipated the birth of a child with Down syndrome: driving my son to daycare, sitting in the dim light of yet another distant ultrasound room, waiting for another specialist with an ever-more-complicated-to-pronounce kind of job, another procedure.

[Read the rest of the article on]

A Coupla Jewish Writers Talk Theater, Drinking and Escaping the Midwest

By Joshua Furst

Over the past 15 years or so, Brooke Berman has built a reputation as one of the funniest and most emotionally honest playwrights of her generation. Her often autobiographical work includes “Hunting and Gathering,” which received a celebrated production at Primary Stages in 2008, as well as “Smashing,” “Until We Find Each Other,” and “The Triple Happiness.” It examines the struggles and compromises of women grappling with uncertainty, instability and the weight of their expectations for themselves and their world.

Berman is the wife of my friend and Forward contributor Gordon Haber, and when I first met her, she struck me at the time as a successful version of the spiritually-minded, artistic type of person — airy and abstract and very into yoga — that I’d become familiar with in the New York theater scene over the years. Since then I’ve realized that she’s much tougher. Her faith is grounded in hard experience (chronicled in her memoir, “No Place Like Home”) and it’s allowed her to handle things that would crush a lesser person with compassion, wisdom and enduring hope. I asked her to join me for a drink to discuss “1300 Lafayette East,” the new play she opened in Detroit, among other topics.

[Read the interview on]

Motherhood Out Loud in Australia!

By Shauna O’Carroll

Life can be utterly unpredictable, and starting and raising a family can be both a rewarding and terrifying experience.

Insomniac Theatre explores the joys and difficulties of parenting in their poignant comedic production of Motherhood Out Loud.

The production is a series of skits that portray all the beautiful, hilarious and downright crazy moments of raising a family, says director and producer Maggie Scott.

“It’s not a cutesy look at motherhood, all rosy with rose-coloured glasses on, it shows you the downsides too,” she says.

Premiering in Australia after a hugely successful run in the United States, Motherhood Out Loud is a fiercely real and honest portrayal of the changing families in society.

“It has a bit of everything, same sex family, adopted family, blended family. There are not just nuclear families anymore, there are many different mixes,” she says.

The production uses simple monologues and staging to express the evolving experience of life, from birth all the way to becoming a great grandparent.

“It goes from childbirth to the first day at school, to grandparents and everything in between, and lets not forget the obnoxious teenagers!” she says.

This unique and relatable show promises to make audiences laugh and tug at the heartstrings. (SO)

Mar 19-Apr 6, The Exchange Hotel Balmain, 94 Beattie St, Balmain $18-25,

[via alt media]

Dear Girls: On Half a Lifetime Without My Mother

By Claire Bidwell Smith

Dear Girls,

This week marks 18 years since my mother died. Exactly half my life ago. Every day after January 24th, 2014 will mean that I have been alive longer without her, than with her.

My mother, my beautiful, glowing mother. It seems impossible that she’s been gone for so long.

Almost two decades later, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.

For a long time I didn’t understand how I could feel that way. I chastised myself for continuing to miss her so much, for knowing that I would never not long for her.

And then I had you, Vera, and you, Jules. And I became a mother myself. I wrapped my arms around you, your little breaths hot and quick on my neck. I learned how to rock you to sleep, how to pick you up when you fell, how to make you giggle, how to make your eyes light up with wonder. I held you closer than I’ve ever held anyone and I vowed that I would never, ever let you go.

I knew then, how it could be that I would never not long for my own mother.

This bond between us — the one between she and I, and the ones between you and me — is something utterly intangible, unbreakable, and unstoppable. Nothing, not distance or silence or chaos or death, could ever undo this connection we have.

Mothers are mysterious creatures. For us women, they at once anchor us and support us. They hold us back and teach us how to go forth. We rebel against the women they are, and we desperately try to become the women they are. I know that throughout your lifetimes you will push and pull against me as only daughters can do.

There will be times when you loathe me, when you question every decision I have ever made, when you frown upon all the things that I am. And there will be other times in which you try to fit your very shadow to match mine, times in which you wish with everything you are that you could be me. These swifts kicks and tugs will overlap so many times that you may never be quite sure what it is you want from me.

I’ve had a lot of time to review the woman my mother was. A lot of time in which to feel angry with her, or in awe of her. I’ve adored her and despised her, even in death. Such is the nature of a daughter’s love.

Even now, 18 years after her death, I can feel her all around me, her existence inextricably linked to mine. The thing is that I couldn’t shake her even if I tried. That she lived and loved me at all, is more than enough to make her a part of my world every day. I hope the same is true of me to you…

[Read the rest of the article on the Huffington Post]

November 2013 Later Mom Profile: Brooke Berman

NAME:  Brooke Berman

AGE:  44


RESIDENCE:   New York City

CHILD’S NAME/AGE: Benjamin, almost 3

I’m primarily a playwright and screenwriter. I’ve recently made my directorial debut with the short film UGGS FOR GAZA, based on a story by my husband Gordon Haber.  Currently the film is in “post” — which means, we’re making it perfect.   My plays have been produced at Steppenwolf, Primary Stages, Second Stage, WET, The Play Company, Theater 7 Chicago and others.  I am about to see the world premiere of my play OUT OF THE WATER (developed as part of the Primary Stages writers lab and again with Naked Angels in residence at NY Stage and Film) at Red Stitch Theater in Melbourne, Australia.  Plays have been developed by SPF, Arielle Tepper Productions, The O’Neill, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Royal Court Theatre (London), The National Theatre Studio (also in London), CTC (Minneapolis), the Playwrights Center (Minneapolis), New Dramatists, MCC Theater (where I’m a founding member of the Playwrights Coalition and a former educator/staff member) and others. As a screenwriter, I have written films for Natalie Portman, Vox Films, Red Crown, The Mark Gordon Company and Fugitive Films.  My short film ALL SAINTS DAY, directed by Will Frears, won Best Narrative Short at The Savannah Film Festival in 2008.  I attended Barnard College and the Juilliard School.  More info:

You have had success as an award-winning playwright and screenwriter.  Where does the inspiration come for your work?  Do you have one piece you are most proud of? I am most proud of my play SAM AND LUCY.  It’s the closest to my heart and the most personal.  This play has never been produced but it was workshopped quite beautifully at SPF in New York Citystarring Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie, Tiny Furniture, Michael Clayton, New Girl), Mireille Enos (The Killing, World War Z, Big Love) and Didi O’Connell (a goddess of the American theater.) [Read the rest of the article here]