Hey, thanks for visiting the Stageworks Blog! For much of this year the company has been working on a new show – Heirlooms & Baggage – a theatrical adaptation of written stories from the My Mother’s Story for Diverse Voices workshops we’ve held over the course of 2021-2022.
In this blog we’re talking with Marilyn Norry, founder of www.mymothersstory.org who has been the guiding light for our company members writing processes. She and fellow @deltastageworks associate artist Cory Haas have been leading the script development workshops with devised theatre and storytelling techniques from their art practices.
Marilyn: “It’s so exciting working with Delta Stageworks on a stage show telling the stories of Delta mothers. We are using these stories in a very different way than how I’ve created My Mother’s Story shows in the past. I think audiences will really enjoy what we’re making here.
Since 2006 we created nine My Mother’s Story shows in Vancouver and North Vancouver and in all cases, the focus was on the mothers with the writer/actors telling their stories. We knew nothing about the writers except that they were the daughters of our primary focus.
In the Delta show we are focusing on the process the daughters (and one son) take in discovering the story of their mothers’ lives. They will be telling the facts of their actual mothers’ lives but we will be witnesses to the frustrations, fears, surprise and sorrow they feel as their eyes and hearts are opened through the research they do. This realization is a common aspect to this project that we have never been able to dramatize: How someone so close to you, someone you thought you knew, could have such a mysterious past. Through this process they gradually see their mothers as human beings rather than child-centric care givers. (Check out the Stageworks collaborators on this show at facebook.com/deltastageworks )
I have been asking people to write the stories of their mothers’ lives since 2004 and have worked with hundreds of people in unearthing the facts about their mothers. In all that time I’ve never seen the same story twice: every story is of a unique woman facing unique challenges. This goes against the commonly held wisdom that all mothers have the same life (“She’s just a mom!”) but our connection to our mothers is unique. Nothing could be further from the truth!
The mothers in Heirlooms & Baggage have lived full and interesting lives. Their birthdates range from 1924 to 1969 so their experiences cover the 20th century. Either through birthplaces (Figi, Port Albernie, Saskatoon, Bellingham and Russia) or extensive travel, they bring awareness of the whole world to the stage. But it is their adult children who tell their stories mixed with insights into their own changing relationships to the woman they call Mom. “
Heirlooms & Baggage (My Mother’s Story) will open in spring 2023! Follow Stageworks on instagram.com/deltastageworks to get all the deets on the show’s presentation dates.