As live shows go, there might be nothing more appropriate for Mother’s Day than “Listen to Your Mother,” readings by Madison writers on motherhood at the Barrymore Theatre.
The show, Sunday at 3 p.m., is directed and produced by Madison mom Ann Imig. A self-described “Stay-at-Home Humorist” and mother of two young sons, Imig has gained a following on her blog, Ann’s Rants (annimig.com), which finds humor in the daily joys and challenges of parenthood.
Eleven women, all Madison-area moms, were chosen to give their original readings after auditions in early April. Imig, who has experience as a stage actress, also will read at the event, which will last about an hour and 20 minutes.
Admission to “Listen to Your Mother” is $10. Tickets may be purchased at the door at the Barrymore, 2090 Atwood Ave.
The show is a first for Imig, who turned to blogging after working in other fields, including television ad sales and social work. She took time leading up to the event to share a few thoughts about the show, her career and motherhood.
Can you tell a little about your background?
I (turned) 36 on Saturday, May 8, but no one — I repeat, no one — will be jumping out of a cake at “Listen to Your Mother.” My sons are 3 and 6 years old, and I prefer to leave them un-Google-fiable as long as possible. My husband, Ben, is a web-interface designer. We met at the Rocky Mountain Rep Theater in Grand Lake, Colo., in 1996 when I was performing musical theater and he was playing drums in the pit. He managed to fall in love with me despite the “Greatest American Hero”-style wig I had to wear as an angel in “Anything Goes.” Or, maybe it was because of it. We lived in Chicago for 10 years, and returned to Madison — my hometown, my maiden name is Krinsky — in 2006. (Imig is a West High school graduate.)
What can you share about the show’s other 11 women and their readings?
All of the writers live in the Madison area and are mothers. Some of the women write professionally, others write as a hobby. Most of us use writing as an outlet — be it creative, for stress relief or as a means of working through challenges.
The program includes poetry, prose, humor, and essays — all speaking to the vast array of the women’s unique experiences with mothering. Some of the readings will likely mirror the experience of many moms in the audience, like Erin Ruzicka Trondson’s poetry excerpt from her upcoming chapbook “Nesting,” or Kaye Becker’s unusual take on the annual holiday card. Other readings might provide the audience with a new perspective: Theresa Kim is reading about foster parenting, Oroki Rice is reading about parenting grandchildren, and Lael Sheber is reading about mothering her son who has cancer. Common among all the readings are themes of humor, humility, awe, struggle and more humor.
How did you come up with the idea for “Listen to Your Mother”?
I use writing as a performance medium, meaning when I write, I imagine reading out loud to an audience. ...
At BlogHer09 in Chicago (a conference for bloggers), the final keynote address featured bloggers selected to read their own writing. It was the most memorable part of the conference for me, because it was so validating and inspiring to hear people’s personal stories read aloud. I wanted to bring that experience to my own community.
What do you hope to achieve with the show?
I have benefited tremendously from connecting with other parents and writers online, through my blog, annsrants.com. I wanted to bring this writer/parent camaraderie into my “real life” community. I thought by celebrating authentic writing about motherhood with other moms in Madison — and perhaps even with their moms — on Mother’s Day, women who might not ordinarily visit the blogosphere could experience a piece of its vitality.
Also, a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Road Home Dane County, solutions for homeless families. ... It is important to support mothers and families in our community in a tangible way, as well as in this creative way.
How difficult has it been to organize this event?
I have never experienced such synchronicity in planning anything. I only thought of this show eight weeks ago, and the fact that it is happening at all speaks to the ease with which it has come together. Alison Dodge and Happy Bambino, “Listen to Your Mother’s” sponsor, have helped me quite a bit, and I’ve also had great suggestions from other creative members of the community, like Meg Hamel of the Wisconsin Film Festival and Anne Strainchamps of Wisconsin Public Radio. That said, it has been an immense undertaking in terms of time and energy, and I feel beyond fortunate to have the help of my fellow UW theater alum, Darcy Dederich, as my stage manager.
What are the biggest challenges of balancing motherhood and all the creative things you’re trying to do, including this show?
My biggest challenge is staying present in the moment and avoiding burnout. For instance, when I mean to drive to the school to pick up my kindergartner, but find myself pulling into my garage instead, I am not “balancing” very well.
Mothering is the best but hardest job I’ve tackled so far, and the best fuel for my creative passion — humor writing. … I am so passionate about motherhood, blogging, writing, and performing — if I don’t stop now you will need a table of contents for this interview.