Listen to Your Mother-OKC 2013
Julie Bohannon, Misti Pryor and Heather Davis were the producers and directors of this single event smash hit that reminded OKC what real connection is all about. Thank you. You did a fabulous job.
But I must confess---it was the audience that made the Oklahoma City premier Listen to Your Mother presentation the awesome spectacular moment in history that it was.
In an early celebration of Mother’s Day, over 400 people crowded into the Will Roger’s Theater to listen to a group of writers sharing with strangers, family and friends their personal perspectives on motherhood. (Tickets were sold out three times and seats kept being added until the event became standing room only.) The audience didn’t really know what to expect and was ready for anything.
I was blessed to be one of those writers.
As a group we had one “sit-around-a-table” read through rehearsal with most of the writers a week ago. (Thank you Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma.) It took two days for my snot filled sinus cavities to clear. And though I am not certain, I think I developed a hernia from laughing so hard.
On Sunday May 5, 2013, we congregated in the green room a couple of hours before show-time. We did our best to soothe each other’s nerves with deep breathing exercises, small talk, munching on snacks and to-die-for-smoothies provided by Juice Blendz. Thank you Juice Blendz.
Shortly after everyone arrived, Misti Pryor lined us all up like a brood of ducklings and marched us to the stage, instructing us to find our “comfortable spot” and take a seat on the beautiful set provided by NorwalkFurniture.
It was then---looking out at the auditorium and all those empty chairs crowded together, empty chairs that would soon be filled with real live people, real live people that would include for me, a sister, a niece, a son and a daughter---it was then--- I realized I was going to need to pop an Imodium and pray it would be fast acting.
Misti must have noticed the look on my face. She smiled and said, “Don’t worry, the house lights will be down and you will see nothing but stage lights and a black void.” I think she meant to be reassuring.
We each did a walk to the podium practice--- stepping up on a two-foot by two-foot wooden riser. We each spoke a few words to make sure the microphone was adjusted properly before returning to our seats.
Then Misti asked, “Any questions?”
I had an immediate flashback forty-four years, to a small group tour of the labor and delivery room where I gave birth to my first child. Three women behind the curtains were obviously in “transition.” The nurse giving the tour asked that very same question. And the exact same thought played in my mind. “Is there any way I can back out now?” And in almost the same moment, I remembered the result of moving past my fears forty-four years ago. I was blessed with a remarkable son and the entry into the awesome and sometimes heart-breaking world of motherhood.
“I can do this.” I repeated that mantra all the way back to the green room where I immediately found the Imodium and downed it with a swig from a bottle of water.
When Misti finally called out, “It’s shoooow-time!” The Imodium indeed proved it was fast-acting. However once on stage, I noticed the two-foot by two-foot wooden platform had shrunk to a 2-inch square.
But, as Misti promised, beyond some vague outlines in the front row, I could see no one.
But each and every one of us on that stage could feel the audience. The energy of their spirits reached out--- enveloping us with compassion and love, and there was a transformation---there was no longer --- a “me”, a “he”, or a “she”. There was no longer an “us” or a “them”.
WE WERE CONNECTED.
And that’s what motherhood is really about.