Women are getting their say on stage. During this past February we had to endure more critical acclaim for The V—Monologues. This dreadful production is promoted and presented around the country on college campuses and in local playhouses, ostensibly to shed light on women’s “issues” such as domestic violence and abortion, but as the title will tell you it is performed via monologues focusing on sex.
All-women or one-woman shows have been popping up in and around Broadway for quite awhile with Lily Tomlin, Sarah Bernhardt and Whoopie Goldberg. A newly crowned queen of the one-woman show is Sarah Jones, a thirty-something African-American who is putting poetry in the mouth of immigrants, both men and women, in a much-heralded show, Bridges and Tunnels, produced by none other than Meryl Streep.
There is nothing wrong with one-woman shows and as a matter of fact I have my own. It is entitled White, Catholic, At-Home, Homeschooling Mom. Have you seen it? No? Well, don’t worry few people have. My best and only audience consists of a hard-working husband and ten kids. But these wonderful people are also a part of the act so they don’t really count now, do they? For me, the problem with the all-women or one-woman shows getting press, awards and attention is that not one of them has ever represented my voice or ever even attempted to.
There is no one out there sharing my story, and I wonder if they would be allowed to. Though one of Sarah Jones’s character talks about the America where you can say what you want and have the opinion you want, I don’t think the media and the arty types would get behind me and my opinions. They can easily back monologues on sexual freedom, but they wouldn’t see much value in a discourse on a mom correcting math homework. “Oh, the curse of teaching the double digit divide. Multiply, subtract, drop down for the ride. Cursed is the double digit divide.” There is nothing controversial in that is there?
Oh, but there is.
My life and the lives of my friends are extremely controversial. Whether we work out of the home or not, our days consist of saying our prayers and maybe trying to get to Mass an extra day or two during the week with our little ones in tow. We are all working hard to help raise our families within the Church and teach our kids that some body parts are best left out of the titles of plays. We are doing all that we do out of choice and conviction. However, the choice and conviction that most feminists push for is the choice to kill a baby in womb and the conviction to see this death as a victory for all women. They see nothing heroic in being up three times a night nursing a baby, fixing lunch for our husbands and children or managing to dress our families from hand-me-downs and yard sales. It is this lack of recognition that illustrates one facet of all that is wrong in society.
My one-woman show will never make Broadway. No one wants to hear the poetry that falls from my lips as I say “Oh, Mary, make me a mother like you: patient and pondering, seeing everything that happens as a treasure to be locked in my heart.” Would Meryl back a show of poetry in the mouth of a mother praying for her wayward son at daily Mass, a wife still open to life holding the hand of her dying husband as he goes silent into death, or a mom reciting her Rosary while driving the kids to soccer? Or must it be the Chinese woman lamenting her gay daughter? I utter the poetry of “Mercy, please and more grace while you are at it!” instead of yelling as I am asked for the hundredth time “Movie, momma?”
There is nothing wrong with one-woman shows per se, but it is lamentable and worth criticizing that there would be no place for a show done by me, or any other convinced Catholic woman. “Hurray!” shout the feminists, “Women are getting their due; their voices are being heard. Come listen to what we say. But don’t bother with her; that faithful Christian woman has nothing meaningful to say.”
Go to those shows if you like but, please, don’t accept the dialogue or monologue there as fact, as if it is the voice of all women or even most women. The best shows in town, the real seats that you can’t even buy are at a nearby dining-room table where the spaghetti is being served and the spills are being wiped up. It may appear that no one is eager to applaud as women across the country fold another load of laundry, listen to another recitation of “The Charge of the Light Brigade” or bake another dozen cupcakes for the church bake sale, but that isn’t quite the case.
Jesus has promised that what God sees in private He will reward, so admittedly, we don’t really need to be noticed by the public. Still everyone desires a little pat on the back. As Sarah Jones will attest, everyone likes to hear a story that is similar to his own, someone else saying what he might wish he could given the skills and the stage. I have that same wish. However, I lack both the skills and the stage and most importantly, the time. I am so busying doing my show I couldn’t imagine taking it on the road.
Therefore, I must be convinced, as every mother should be, that this show life as a mom is playing for a packed house. Every day of our lives is a command performance, a royal appearance before God Himself along with His Son Jesus and the Queen Mother Mary. They are watching us, along with the saints from ages past. And, if musicals are more your style, picture the choirs of cherubim and seraphim as the chorus line.
I needn’t worry about the lack of media recognition or public ticket sales, as they can’t close this show down. I can almost guarantee that my one-woman show will be running longer than the Monologues and Sarah Jones hey, I already have a 20-year head start. And while my show, and yours, will never garner a single Tony nomination or even a mention in the local paper, if we continue to work on our material and keep our sense of humor we might see some great eternal reviews.
© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange
Rachel Watkins, wife of Matt and mother of 10, is a contributor to Heart, Mind, Strength radio program and the blogsite, www.exceptionalmarriages.com. She is also the creator of The Little Flowers Girls’ Club, www.eccehomopress.com.