Tackling the extremely relatable topic of mother in the modern age with dark humour and wit, Motherload promises to be a smash hit. According to the show’s producer and star, Emelia Symington Fedy, the play “talks about all the dark stuff that moms go through that’s not very sexy to talk about. A lot of it is embarrassing.”
Inspired by the seminal play Mom’s the Word, which debuted in 1995, Motherload is a production for the next generation. “Mom’s the Word was a collective of female artists that, 20 years ago, got together and wrote a play about what it was like to be a mom,” said Fedy. “It was a great hit, and it toured the world.”
Fedy was inspired by the original production to create her own group called the Motherload Collective, based in Vancouver. For Fedy, the period after giving birth to her first child “was a very isolated, lonely time. So just for my own sake, I thought, ‘let’s get this group of women together, like a play group, except we can talk about it and turn it into art.’”
Motherload, was a collective creation with unorthodox beginnings. “We all had our hands in the script at all times,” Fedy said. This is likely because the play is based on the experience of its writers: “All the actresses on stage are moms. They are all moms to two or more kids.” Fedy explained that the play’s scenes began as improvisation, and were written down as a script afterwards.
The play is an exercise in brutal honesty, Fedy admitted. “We are really taking everything from our real personal lives. It shows all the intimacies of our lives.” However, for Fedy and the collective, “it’s a really fine line of making good art where you are being really honest, but there is this professionalism that makes the audience feel safe all the time.
“We are all actresses we are all comfortable being straight up with the truth, so that is what we do.”
Motherload deals with difficult topics, like death in the family and sleep deprivation. “It gets really dark really fast,” said Fedy. But, she was quick to note that the play is also about “laughing at the darkness [. . .] sitting in the show and thinking, ‘holy shit, I think the same thing, thank God, thank God I’m not a bad mom.’”
Ultimately, the play aims to open up the conversation about motherhood from within a feminist context. “Every single person in the [production] would identify as feminist,” Fedy said. “That’s the root of why we are doing the show. [It] lets us put our dark story, our fears and vulnerabilities, on stage so that the women in the audience can feel like they are not alone. That, to me, is a feminist act.”
Motherload runs from February 3 to 21 at The Cultch. For more information, visit thecultch.com.