While From Here To Maternity (opening soon at Chapel Off Chapel) is a light-hearted look at parenting, it is also a deeper examination of some of the more difficult issues that first time mums might face.
A two-hander, it stars Mikhaela Ebony and Lana Meltzer who travel through ‘Babyland’ in Melbourne-based playwright, Elise Hearst’s, work.
A close threesome, Ebony is a mother herself and is relishing creating the piece with her good friend, performer and mother, Meltzer, alongside friend, mother and playwright, Hearst. It has been a subject matter close to home for all of them since October 2014.
“What resonates most with me is that this piece is inviting the audience into these two characters lives at an extremely vulnerable, fragile and chaotic moment, something that people aren’t so willing to do and tend to cover up and hide,” says Ebony. “Most mothers can be quick to judge each other and also themselves about process, decisions and not doing the “right” thing. We can be very cruel to ourselves as well as to others who are still finding their way. ”
“‘From Here To Maternity’ is opening up the “raw” and the “crazy” for discussion and offering the idea that we don’t always have to have the answer, or be the best & that reaching out for help doesn’t mean you are a failure.”
“Being a mum and getting back into the workforce is not easy, but this is not new information & after reading an article in the guardian and seeing the statement “why don’t mothers have a voice on stage?” (https://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2012/feb/29/keeping-mum-mothers-voice-stage) I was inspired to get this show up and running. After the amazing response from parents we received last year at Theatreworks, it was clear to me that more parents needed to see this show. More new mums needed the opportunity to get out of the house & do something therapeutic for themselves that they could take their baby to. Sitting in a theatre with a bunch of other new parents watching a live performance that directly relates to them is something so unique. Going to “mums and bubs” sessions at the cinema to see the latest film is not quite the same as stepping out into a theatre and watching a piece of art that can make you laugh, cry and most importantly relate directly to you. I wanted more new parents to know that it is okay to not take to parenthood as soon as your baby arrives, that you don’t have to be super woman or superman, you just need to be kinder to yourself, kinder to your partner & take your time as you learn to grow and love with the new person in your life. ”
Ebony says the work sis about friendship, support, community, connection, isolation and so much more. “There are so many things one experiences in the first year of parenthood and the show is a funny raw take on what can happen to adults when you throw a baby in the mix,: she says.
Ebony’s character ‘Mik’ plays the mum who believes she can handle anything and everything that comes her way. She has prepared herself as best she can for the birth of her child and believes as long as she has control that everything will be fine. “A large amount of the struggles that this character deals with are a combination of my own personal struggles as well as some close friends who have had similar experiences,” says Ebony.
In this age of technology, there have been many stories, commentaries and, some might say, a little too much information offered on this topic. Ebony agrees saying there are mummy blogs, mummy magazines, mummy podcasts, films about mums. “Yet I feel that current stage plays with the theme of motherhood are small personal stories being told on stage by actors in story form, rather than taking on the arc of a play, ” she offers, talking about what might set this play apart from all the rest. “I also struggle to name more than three and when most people in the world are parents it is slightly crazy there isn’t more for them and made by them.
‘From Here To Maternity’ is a journey, a funny and raw play that follows an arc, moving through the first year of a new parents life and finding the humour yet very real struggle in that. The design and stagecraft of the show is put together by a team of extremely talented creatives most of whom are new parents. In a team of ten, six of us are parents, mums and dads and just because the characters are two mums, this does not mean the play won’t resonate with dads. After our last performance in 2015 a dad approached us thanking us for the experience and saying how disappointed he was there weren’t more men in the theatre. So yes, this is a play about motherhood, but what sets it apart is that any parent, female or male will relate to ‘From Here To Maternity.'”
From Here To Maternity will resonate with many but will also give something back, explains Ebony: “Besides the show being extremely entertaining and a great night/day out people should know that 25% of profits made from the show will be donated to PANDA who provide a vital service across Australia by offering the only specialist national perinatal mental health telephone counselling service, as well as reducing stigma around perinatal anxiety and depression, providing education services to health professionals and the wider community.
“If you are pregnant, thinking about it, know someone who has kids, a new parent, an old parent, a comfortable parent or an uncomfortable parent, I encourage you to get the babysitter, or come to a parents and bubs sessions (Babies 0-4months) and have an enjoyable theatrical experience that supports the arts and an amazing organisation.”
October 26 – 30