Directed by Cynthia Nixon
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited
“Isn’t that what we would have wanted from our parents?/the encouragement to be true to our own compass/the freedom to fall and get up/despite the fear of falling again?” – Staceyann Chin
Like the “Star Wars” franchise, “Motherstruck” is best understood and appreciated as a complex set of extended metaphors, rich tropes for the important themes of nurturing, self-realization, unconditional love, and non-judgmental love. Staceyann Chin’s high-energy rehearsal of her experiences with mothering and her own desire to be the kind on mother she never had.
And like the “Star Wars” android BB-8, Ms. Chin, under director Cynthia Nixon’s steady and nurturing hand, maneuvers around Kristin Robinson’s multipurpose set with incredible dexterity – rolling, jumping, lying on the floor, running, sliding, and sitting as she relates her engaging story. There are twenty-four scenes about her growing up in Jamaica, moving to New York City, attempting to return to Jamaica, performing cross country, and finally finding her true home in the quietude of her own sense of authenticity and selfhood.
Much of that journey involves wanting a child. “Sometimes it feels like I’ve spent my entire life terrified of getting pregnant. Terrified of becoming a statistic like my mother. Pregnant. With no father for my child.” The stories of her time spent in fertility clinics are engaging though somewhat overlong with graphic details. Ms. Chin never stops working during her complicated pregnancy and her inexorable strength in the face of sexist and homophobic opposition is an engaging testament to the human spirit.
Her story also encourages audiences to persevere and to be true to their “compass.” “People begin with one intention, one goal. And then life intervenes. You get distracted. You get seduced away. You get derailed.” Ms. Chin demonstrates the importance of not allowing oneself to be derailed or seduced away by opposition and negativity.
In “Motherstruck,” Staceyann Chin makes all that we long for from our past possible through a determined effort or create our own futures. Plan to see her remarkable one-woman show before January 29, 2016.