Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Baby Dramaturgy: Mariah MacCarthy @ Edfringe 2017

Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People
in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
August 4-12, 2017

baby mama press quotes 2.jpg

About Baby Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Give Her Child to Gay People

Baby Mama tracks birth mother Mariah MacCarthy’s true adoption journey, from conception to placement with the gay couple of her dreams – while still living her life, dating, and attending the occasional orgy. From adoption agencies to vaginal discharge, from burlesque to good­byes, this intimate night of storytelling is up close and personal.

Bring hankies! Voice Choice of The Village Voice; Winner of The Dr Robert J Thierauf Producer’s Pick Award of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Written and performed by Mariah MacCarthy. Directed by Sara Lyons.

Olive Studio, Greenside @ Infirmary Street
6 Infirmary Street

Daily from Friday, August 4 - Saturday, August 12, 2017  -  All shows at 7:45pm
Buy a ticket in advance to guarantee entry (£7-10) or Pay What You Want
at the venue.

mariahmaccarthy.com @MariahMacCarthy /
capslocktheatre.com @CapsLockTheatre

What was the inspiration for this performance?

With Baby Mama, I wanted to show people what it looks like for an unapologetic, sex-positive, pro-choice woman to have a baby and place him in an open adoption. This show is entirely autobiographical, with the exception of a few name changes. 

I wanted people to know a birth mother's story, because birth mothers are nearly invisible in polite society. When we talk about adoption, we talk about how wonderful it is for some (probably, wealthy, probably white) couple to be able to have the family they wanted. It's very rare that birth mothers get the floor, and I wanted to take the floor. I also wanted to show that it is possible to go through the worst pain of your life and still have a sense of humor about it; that grief and sexuality can coexist in the same body; and that placing a child for adoption is an act of both necessity and unconditional love.
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Performance is a pretty fantastic way to put a human face on an abstract idea. To cut straight to people's hearts. The downside of theatre is that you're making a product that, like, 0.00001% of people want, and that you can only make about five dollars doing. So in that sense, it's not really a good space for anything, because it's a very efficient way to give artists burnout. But it's a wonderful space for making ideas alive.
How did you become interested in making performance?
I grew up singing, dancing, writing, and acting. I was the Baby Jesus in a Christmas pageant as an infant, and then I just never quit. There is just nothing in the world like the energy of a generous audience.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
Pure, terrifying honesty and vulnerability. I just want you to feel like we're getting coffee together. Like there's no one in the world but you and me and this story we're sharing.
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Not particularly! Usually, I write the words and some very talented actors say the words for me. I almost never perform anymore, but for Baby Mama, I make an exception. It's a story that I want to tell myself, and I think it's a special experience for the audience to see the real person onstage, the woman who really lived through everything she's telling you. I think it adds something essential when you have that context, a real-life model, for a new narrative. I wanted to be the adoption role model I didn't have when I was pregnant.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Love. Connection. Education. I want people to leave with greater empathy for young, broke, sexually active women of all stripes, not just birth mothers - but for birth mothers too. I also want people to know just how bad it is for mothers in the States - our healthcare is an ever-evolving joke/nightmare, there's no paid parental leave, and forget about affordable childcare. Some mothers stay home and give up their careers because they'd be basically be spending their entire salary on childcare. My show is not about complaining; I'm very lucky, in that I found a wonderful gay couple who want as open of an adoption as I do. But when my audience goes home and thinks about adoption, or about young broke women in the States, I hope they think about me and my story.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Every rewrite I've ever made to Baby Mama has been about making it sound more natural - more like we're just having a conversation. I know we can't suspend disbelief entirely: I'm sitting on a stool on a stage, and that's not particularly natural. But every decision made in the show is in service of intimacy and connection. Much as I'd love to play a big venue with this show, what I love most is when I can look every single member of the audience straight in the eyes.

About Mariah MacCarthy
“Sweet and boisterous…an adventure and an event…and a lot of fun, too.”
-The New York Times on MacCarthy’s Mrs. Mayfield’s Fifth-Grade Class of ’93 20-Year Reunion
Mariah MacCarthy’s work has been developed and presented at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rattlestick, Primary Stages, Culture Project, New Dramatists, La MaMa, HERE, Dixon Place, The Brick, Atlantic Stage 2, Fringe NYC, various New York apartments, all over the country, and Paris. Indie Theater Hall of Fame, Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award, Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences, two New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations, 20 Looking Glass Forum Awards, FringeNYC “Outstanding Performance,” nominee for the prestigious Playwright of New York fellowship, and Kate Bornstein once called her “f***ing brilliant.” Executive Artistic Director of Caps Lock Theatre, Associate Artistic Director-at-Large of The Brick, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Obie award-winning Youngblood. mariahmaccarthy.com

About Sara Lyons:
Sara Lyons is a Brooklyn-based theatre artist.  As a director, recent projects include Kirya Traber's Overheard (Dixon Place, BAAD, others), Pilot's Wings (Fordham U), Life After (HERE Arts Center), The Garden Party (Organs of State), and more with Culture Project, EST, Cherry Lane, Primary Stages, The Lark, BAX, Ars Nova, and more in NYC and around the country.  She has performed original work at LaMaMa, PS 122, and with Organs of State.  As a teaching artist with Opening Act, she devises new work with NYC high schoolers and has previously worked with students of all ages across the five boroughs as well as in South Africa, Mexico.  Alum, EMERGENYC at NYU's Hemispheric Institute, DirectorsLabChicago, UWisconsin-Madison.  MFA Candidate, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.  Say hi at sara-lyons.com!

About Caps Lock Theatre: 
Caps Lock Theatre does funny, ugly, human plays. We like plays where people are at both their worst and their best; where people screw each other—or themselves—over, and have to find a way to deal with it; where people’s hearts hurt, or open, or blossom. We also believe in fun. Our plays will probably make you laugh. Probably more than once. And, we believe in creating art by whatever means necessary. If we are fortunate enough to piece together enough resources for lavish sets and fabulous special effects, awesome. If (more likely) we have to make work on a shoestring budget, on-the-fly, in an unconventional location, then we’ll do that and still knock your socks off. capslocktheatre.com

No comments :

Post a Comment