KSU Department Of Theatre To Present MAMI CONFESSIONS

Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes examines motherhood through real life stories.

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Kennesaw State University's Department of Theatre and Performance Studies welcomes actor, producer, and writer Lorraine Rodríguez-Reyes to the stage with her award-winning show Mami Confessions February 10-12 at the Stillwell Theater.

Constructed from real life interviews over a decade, Mami Confessions takes the audience through an unrestricted examination of motherhood. From childbirth to the empty-nest and everything in between, the emotional rollercoaster ride of maternal love is brought to life through stories from women of all ages and circumstances.

Lorraine portrays ten mothers whom she describes as "fierce, funny, protective, loving, sad, joyous, proud, unapologetic, remorseful, provocative, and amazing women." She didn't realize that so many women experienced motherhood differently. Her first pregnancy was a breeze, and she took her son
"strapped on my back" as she worked on the play Glass Chord, a play about a young girl struggling with culture, love, and unwanted teen pregnancy. The playwright told her that she knew a lot of women who had no connection to their babies, and it stunned Lorraine.

She wanted to know more, so she began talking to more women about their experiences. "I felt like I was listening to secrets! All these problems came out; it was a revelation to me that not everyone had this glorious experience." When women would tell her their stories, she "jotted it down. I felt the need to document the stories." She began cultivating more stories, and, in 2013, bundled them up and submitted them to the ONE Festival in New York City; she took home the top prize.

She began working with director Susan G. Reid, who recommended working with a dramaturg, former TPS professor Jane Barnette. Jane helped Lorraine focus the material into a journey of motherhood, although "if you read the play from 2014, it's so different now; she's grown," said Lorraine, referring to Mami Confessions as one would refer to a close friend.

Mami Confessions has its roots firmly planted in the Caribbean. "I talk with a lot of women from other ethnicities, not just Latino; the majority of them are Caribbean. We have a lot of the same commonalities, we're all a mix, but we share underlying religion and cultures," she said. She added that there is "some Spanglish in the play, and I include a vocabulary listing in the program so that audience members will understand, as I will do some cultural references."

Being a mother is not required to empathize with the characters. "I've heard that a lot of times, you need to be a mother-that you have to have these things to understand what I'm going through-and I don't think that's true. We all love and that's huge, maybe there are things I can never comprehend, but I can empathize."

She hopes that audience members will walk away with greater empathy for others. "Have empathy for each other! You have no idea of what is going on in someone's life. They may have the perfect Instagram or Facebook page, but you have no idea of what they are battling inside. When you see someone who has lost a child, who doesn't want a child, who can't have a child, then say, okay, that's perfect, that's for you. Every culture handles things differently. Don't be judgmental about it. Be open because everyone handles motherhood differently."

Lorraine has performed in theatre all over the world and has numerous credits in both film and television. She holds a master's degree from Harvard's American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.)/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.

Mami Confessions will be performed February 10-12 at the Stillwell Theater on the Kennesaw campus; Tickets are $12-20 for this in-person event; buy tickets online or call Patron Services at 470-578-6650.


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