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Mike Hamilton and Jessica Anne in MIKE MOTHER. Photo by Joe Mazza.
By Tonika Todorova
In the spirit of non-illusory theater (The Neo-futurists pioneered this genre in 1988), I’d like to submit a meta-assessment. MIKE MOTHER weaves in and out of the present moment and current reality, leaving in its wake open wounds, left gaping so they can be pointed at and acknowledged that they gape on purpose by their poetic author, all of it charged by the electricity coming off of a very energetic opening night crowd. The Neos’ community knows best about the strength and vulnerability required for their brand of immediacy.
The storyline oscillated between biographical and literary and fictional and documentary and self-aware and anecdotal. Even though I couldn’t always link the staging to the story it was accompanying, I leapfrogged to the parts that resonated with me most, and there were plenty of them to choose from. I imagined that as an audience member I was handed a responsibility, or at least the carte blanche, to be a part of this theatrical therapeutic exchange between play and audience. I imagined it was alright to not get all the jokes, or to be able to follow all the connective memories, or to avoid sitting in the direct intensity of the last twenty minutes out of fear I couldn’t walk out of the theatre anxiety free. I cherry picked my way through the parts I found most subjective to me, still wondering what actually did happen to Jessica’s mother. Mike Hamilton provided a strong guide and anchor while Jessica Anne gifted the catharsis in her two-person one-woman show. There was a beautiful reward of pulling Mike in (and us) literally and figuratively to button it all up.
I hope you were empowered by sharing these memories, Jessica Anne. I hope airing it out allows you to come to peace with it all and when you are “awkwardly, always stumbling into a hug”, know your community is there, arms stretched wide for the embrace.
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