April 10, 2016
Kathleen Clark’s Secrets of a Soccer
Mom (2008), now playing at AtticRep
in the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater,
has virtually every hallmark of an
excellent production – strong,
energetic acting and direction,
seamless scene transitions and more.
Unfortunately, it proved the adage
about the silk purse and the sow's ear.
In spades. The comedy about women
whose lives change dramatically once
they become mothers is so predictable
and cliché-ridden that its only
salvation is outstanding production
That salvation is achieved, thanks to
director Marisela Barrera and a trio
of skilled, versatile actors.
The set is a soccer field bleacher where the moms are watching their 8-year old boys playing their annual mothers-vs.-sons soccer game. There are enough teams taking turns to play that these women have plenty of time for conversing, gossiping and whining between interruptions to jump up and shout at their – and others’ – offspring.
All three have redefined their lives by choosing to be stay-at-home moms. Maggie Tonra is a bundle of nerves as Alison, a former athlete made insecure because of a controlling husband. Georgette Lockwood plays super-efficient Lynn, who is one of those PTA moms that handles bake sales, field trips, school raffles and the like. Anna de Luna’s Nancy is devoted to her kids, but admits that she has lost herself, lost perspective.
Each time one mother exits for some reason, the other two gossip or chatter about love, sex, former careers or wondering if they will ever feel like productive citizens again. (Ahem, now, there's a shock for any mother.) When the three are together, punctuated by hollering at the kids or dashing on the field to play, all this complaining and secret-sharing intensifies.
That is not to say there are no laughs; there are plenty, as well as body language made funnier than the script suggests, thanks to Ms. Barrera’s comedic sense. The cleverest segments are done in pantomime, especially the madcap re-enactment of the game.
The contributions of the thoughtful sound and lighting designer Mike Maria are essential to making it all work despite a lame script. The recorded music choices are eclectic – mostly pop tunes in several languages – and spot-on appropriate.
Brisk pacing is another plus; performed without an intermission, the show lasts about 75 minutes.
Secrets of a Soccer Mom runs Thursday-Sunday through April 17 at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Call 999-8524.
Anna de Luna, Maggie Tonra, Georgette Lockwood
AtticRep: Secrets of a Soccer Mom
Making a silk purse from … well, you know