Does society really value the contribution of mothers? What does it mean to be a mother? How do you give all of yourself and yet not lose yourself?
These are among the questions pondered in Seven Ages of Mam at this year’s Brighton Fringe at Sweet Werks 1 (Venue 18), May 2-5 at 1.10pm (70 mins).
Mam uses Shakespeare’s All The World’s A Stage speech from As You Like It as a launch pad to reminisce on all the stages of her life, reflect on what has or has not changed across the generations and tackle some thorny questions about the role of women and mothers in society along the way.
Mam divides her life into seven ages- the infant, the schoolboy, the lover, the soldier, the justice, the old man and the invalid.
The result is by turns, a hilarious, heart-breaking and thought-provoking exploration of motherhood, says performer/producer/writing contributor Pauline O’Driscoll
“Albeit a female centric piece about what it means to be a woman and a mother, Seven Ages of Mam will appeal to men and women alike. Anyone who is a mum, knows a mum or ever had a mum will relate to this play .... yes, in other words everyone! One male audience member actually told me he laughed and cried and next day took his mum to lunch. I loved hearing that. On behalf of mother’s all over the world, it made my day.
“Mam’s highly-entertaining take on such universal themes of motherhood as the struggle to hang on to personal identity; the losing of your name; pregnancy and child birth; relationship strain; breast feeding and the pros and cons of cabbage leaves; the vagaries of homework and parental duty are intercut with more topical musings on self-worth; gender identity; gender inequality; ageing and death; the Marriage Bar; Ireland pre and post the Repeal of the 8th Amendment; raising children in an age of social media; and the role of parents in general and mothers in particular in raising and moulding the next generation of young women and men in an era of #metoo #timesup #consent and #genderequality.”
Writer Mark Evans said: “This play is a result of much collaboration, workshopping and rewriting. I had seen what actor Pauline O’Driscoll could do with an earlier solo play of mine entitled You Have It All Backwards so I was beyond excited when she approached to work on play for her on the subject of motherhood.”