Lisa B. Thompson’s satirical comedy The Mamalogues rests on 90 minutes of intense sharing at a retreat for “black bougie single mothers.”
The women, of a certain age and economic strata, meet periodically to network, empathize and gripe about their lives and the decisions they’ve made (and are making) raising black kids in a country that is not always kind or fair to people of colour.
Cast of The Mamalogues (from left): Stacie Doublin as Tasha, Sylvia Wynn as Lauren and Sandra Adjoumani as Beverly. Set design and paintings are by Sarah Kaiser-Amaral. Credit: Yancey Hughes
The playwright breaks through the fourth wall right from the start, as two of the actors walk onto the stage from the back of the room, walking down the side aisles, greeting those in the audience.
The third actor is in the audience and minutes later is called on to the stage, at which point the show truly begins.
The characters share certain memories on stage – food preparation, meals, religion and hair care. And much of the dialogue is universally relatable regardless of one’s gender, success at procreation, ethnicity and age.
Interspersed with plenty of clever and comical dialogue are poignant and pointed political statements that sneak up on the audience.
The laughs never become belly laughs, but then the worries voiced by the actors, as mothers preparing their children for how to interact with white authority figures, also never dip into total despair.
The three actors (Stacie Doublin as Tasha, Sylvia Wynn as Lauren, Sandra Adjoumani as Beverly) do a fine job bringing Tasha, Lauren and Beverly to life.
They complement one another and create women who are relatable and likable. One small quibble: the dialogue written for Tasha frequently sounds like a caricature rather than the fortyish pediatrician she is meant to be.
That beef is with the playwright and not with Doublin’s portrayal of Tasha.
The set design and paintings enhance the stage and were created by Sarah Kaiser-Amaral, a visual artist and art teacher whose studio is located in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.
The Mamalogues is directed by Tim Rhoze, artistic director of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, located at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center and runs through Aug. 7.
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