MamaBlogger365 – “Sex in Mommyville” by Anna Fishbeyn
My journey with the show, Sex in Mommyville, began as a solo reading at Cornelia Street café, which I entitled Conversations with My Breasts. My audience primarily consisted of mothers – including women I met at my daughter’s preschool and nearby playgrounds, women from my graduate days at New School University and Columbia University, women who like me had become mothers and now faced enormous challenges. But it was the little essay entitled, “The Nuts and Bolts of Espionage” (i.e., “Sex in Mommyville”) that truly resonated with my audience, sending them into uproarious fits of laughter: the simple story of one mother repeatedly attempting but failing to have sex with her husband during one weekend.
One of my friends brought her mother to the show, and she came up to me afterward and said: “Thank you, thank you for doing this show. We had these same problems when I was a young mother, the only difference was that you couldn’t talk about it.” I realized at that moment that it wasn’t simply the uncomfortable pairing of the words, “sex” and “mommyville” into one sentence that touched people – that made them smile, snicker, wonder, inquire, assume, judge, grow excited – it was the fact that I had made this pairing public, that I was talking about mothers and sex.
The juxtaposition between mothers’ sexuality and the state of feminism in our society today became the original impetus for creating and performing my one-woman solo show, “Sex in Mommyville”, at the Flea Theater, where it received an outpouring of enthusiastic reviews and support from mothers, enabling me to continue performing the show at various venues throughout the city.
With the support and encouragement of Ken Wolf, the artistic director of Manhattan Repertory Theatre, I transformed the solo show into a play, creating an entirely new piece. I’ve introduced new characters, infused it with sizzling humor, and painted an explosive family dynamic that illuminates the struggles mothers face daily. My brilliant assistant director, Molly Ballerstein, and my fantastically talented cast of actors have given life to the everyday stories, struggles, and invisible ruminations of all moms, whether they’re stay-at-home, ambitious career moms, or artist moms weaving plays out of their daily toil!
“Sex in Mommyville” will be at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, 303 W. 42nd St., 3rd Fl (RSVP 646-329-6588, www.manhattanrep.com). July 27th at 9 p.m.; July 29th at 9 p.m.; and July 31st at 3 p.m.
Bio: Anna Fishbeyn is a playwright and performer. Her one-woman solo show, Sex in Mommyville, played at the Flea Theater in August 2010. The show received rave reviews from critics and parents alike. Stewart Lewis of WCBS radio called Fishbeyn a “comic genius,” and described the show as a poignant critique of our society’s treatment of women. Mothers have called the show “The Vagina Monologues for MOMS” and “chicken soup for marriages.” The show has been featured at the famed La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, Stuyvesant Town, the JCC, and played at the Museum of Motherhood Conference, sponsored by Mamapalooza. Ms. Fishbeyn has transformed the solo show into an ensemble piece for its premiere at Manhattan Repertory Theatre in July 2011.
Ms. Fishbeyn holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago, an MFA in Fiction from New School University, and Ph.D. from Columbia University. Ms. Fishbeyn’s articles, such as, “Wall Street Makeover,” “The Silence of Jane Eyre,” and “The Miniskirt Dilemma,” examine the media-engendered pressures and socially acceptable double-standards affecting women and mothers today. Her novel-in-progress, The Matrimonial Flirtations of Emma Kaulfield, depicts a woman grappling with feminism, love and a splintered identity.
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