From the show’s writers – David Cale

My friend Janice Paran, who is the dramaturg on Motherhood Out Loud, got in touch with me to ask if I would like to write a monologue for the show. Janice described the show’s concept and told me that the cast would consist of three women and one man, and that they had one monologue for the actor and needed another, with certain requirements.

The show already had Marco Pennette’s brilliant (and hilarious) monologue about gay couple using a surrogate mother to have a child, so, for variety, so to speak, my monologue needed to be from the perspective of a straight man, and, for what she felt would be good for the overall script of Motherhood, Janice floated the idea out of the subject being the man’s aging mother who is subtly beginning to lose her faculties.

I was immediately taken with the idea of the show and being part of a multi-writer collaboration, and I was very intrigued by the subject that Janice had suggested.

Most of the monologues I write I feel are like portraits of people. Often times I try to portray a real person who has moved me in some way, though often giving them a fictionalized life. I lost my own mother when I was sixteen, so I don’t have experience of her as an older person, though I could imagine. So I zeroed in on my dear friend Billy’s mother, who I’d always found captivating, and who I’d always been in uncanny agreement with when it came to assessing contestants and their performances on ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

I’d written a solo show about a NYC Central Park Carriage driver and Billy’s mother was in town from upstate New York where she lives. She wanted to take a carriage ride around the Park, and Billy called and asked me if I’d like to join them. “You could do research for your carriage driver show and observe Mom for the Motherhood show at the same time!”

In the cab headed uptown to Central Park, Billy and I had the most beautiful moment with his mother.

Very quietly she lamented to us that when she was a young girl everyone called her by her birth name, Elizabeth, but since she’d become an adult people had just referred to her as Betty.

“I wish people would call me Elizabeth again”, she said, “Betty’s just so blah.”

It was so human and intimate and affecting.

This is how ‘Elizabeth’, my contribution to Motherhood Out Loud, began.

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