Five stars for CRY IT OUT
Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Five stars for Cry It Out
Cry It Out running at Studio Theater through December 16th, is described as a play about modern parenthood and class in America. At a closer look, the play is really about how all women, and all parents, are faced with having to make difficult choices regarding career and child care, family involvement, finances, birth, nursing, and division of responsibilities. The play brings to light, how these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but are made based on our preconceptions, the input of our families, the outcome of our partner's decisions, and sometimes based purely on instinct, fear, or anxiety.
The show starts out light, with a relatable and mildly awkward interaction between two women, as they attempt to establish a friendship with their only commonality being that they are new moms, neighbors, and don’t have any mom-friends. However, as the story unfolds, the audience finds themselves laughing a knowing laughter as their pain, joy, and frustration resonates throughout the duration of the show.
The beauty in this play is that the three main characters, Lina, Jessie, and Adrienne, could not be more different. They come from different socioeconomic classes, have different career goals, and have varying parenting approaches on feeding, sleep training, and child care. However, none of the mothers are written as the stereotypical "good mom" or "bad mom", "Pinterest mom" or "slacker mom". At points throughout the play you'll find yourself relating to each of the moms, and then minutes later disagreeing with them wholeheartedly. Each character is uniquely complex and makes decision not based on desire, but rather outcomes of circumstances that are out of their control.
This play reminds us that while we as parents have so many choices to make, as long as we are taken care of and our babies are loved and nurtured, there are no bad decisions.
This play reminds us not judge other parents for the choices they make. Most parents, are making their decisions after much deliberation and choosing what feels right to them.
Finally, this play reminds us that many decisions mothers make are not their first choice. Instead, their hand is forced because of financial stressors, a lack of societal and governmental support generational storytelling, or the pressure to fit neatly into one of the stereotypical roles.
The play’s name, Cry It Out, is in reference the hotly debated style of sleep training popularized by Dr. Ferber in the 80’s, in which parents allow their baby to cry it out as they self-soothe to sleep. There's more to the method than that, but that's for another post! To reinterpret the title, I felt the playwright, Molly Smith Meltzer was really inviting audience members to cry it out, to release the emotions from our own experiences and for mothers everywhere.
I had to cry it out when:
Jessie described how she’d spend her last week with her daughter. Because why should women return to work before they are ready?
Lina reminds us of the fear all women feel in the early days where it feels like your baby could die in an instant, leaving you watching them around the clock because what if they die while you ‘simply take a leisurely shit’!
Adrienne and Mitchell show us how partner dynamics can often change in ways you’d never imagine and how a woman’s commitment to her career can result in judgment and confusion from those around her.
Molly Smith Meltzer, you did it! We CRIED IT OUT!
Please join us for a special showing of Cry It Out on Thursday, 12/13 at 8:00 pm, buy your tickets using code PLANNER to receive 30% off your ticket price and stay after as I lead a discussion with the Studio Theater literary director, Adrien-Alice Hansel, read a recent interview with her in On Tap Magazine.
If you’ve already seen the play, please share your thoughts with me as I prepare for the discussion. And if you can’t make it on 12/13 buy your tickets today. Bring a group of friends and discuss the importance of acceptance amongst mothers both online and in-person.
We met the cast after, and they are a beautiful, committed, talented group of people! You won't regret it!