Mama Love

Lea Blair Whitcher
Summerhall

Mama Love

Lea Blair Whitcher tells us she became a mama not long ago. The event inspired her to make this supposedly amusing show about being a mother. It mixes her personal experience with light “feminist” comments illustrated by tricksy audience participation. The audience of ten politely chuckled once.

She points out there are three elements to the mama role. The future baby is provided with part of its DNA from the mother, carried in her body for a period and finally cared for after it is born. It's that last bit that really irks. Although the caring role doesn't have to be done by one person, the world tends to assume the mother will do this for the rest of her life.

To illustrate the first two aspects, she stands naked with her hands on a chair screaming for a period. She explains that’s something she learned to do as an actor and had just appeared screaming in a drama.

She asks Bridget, a mother in the audience, what she loves about having a child and, in response to Bridget’s positive comments, says, “that makes the rest of us feel shitty if we don’t feel that way.”

That feeling, she claims, is “female rivalry” created by the patriarchy.

Apparently, there is a lot of this patriarchy about, causing her to rush around being caring all the time, so she decides she had better have a rest. Throwing off her clothes and relaxing in a dressing gown, she asks audience member Stephen to make her a smoothie and Peter to prepare a face mask. Inevitably, she had to help them. It's always the same with men.

Apologising for not checking how Stephen identified himself, she asks him how he would identify himself, and is shocked when he says, male. “Of all the things you could identify with, you chose that… As a man, you are directly responsible for the patriarchy.” Apparently, she also has “the patriarchy zombie inside” her own body so has to work on getting rid of it.

This slight show isn't particularly funny or perceptive when it comes to the appalling social pressures placed on all women in respect of the dominant stereotypes of their maternal role in life. Although it is on the side of a better deal for mothers and Lea Blair Whitcher “identifies as a feminist”, I can’t see her being invited to perform it at the Feminist International any time soon.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna