About a month ago, my friend Michelle, who writes the fabulously funny blog Rubber Shoes in Hell mentioned that she was auditioning for something called Listen to Your Mother. I had never heard of Listen to Your Mother – but after reading Michelle’s post, I was intrigued and started to do a little research. PS – Michelle TOTALLY made it into the Indianapolis show – as if there was ever any doubt!
According to the website, Listen to Your Mother productions “take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering…in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor – in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors.”
Apparently, it’s quite a thing.
Listen to Your Mother started on Mother’s Day back in 2010, when blogger Ann Imig put together the very first show in Madison, Wisconsin. Almost 300 people attended that first show (I think there are only about 325 people in all of Wisconsin – so I’m pretty impressed). It was so successful, and created such a buzz, that the next year more shows were organized in other cities, and even more the next year, and the next.
Listen to Your Mother will be having shows in 39 cities this May – and one of them is Albuquerque, which is where I hang my hat these days (although actually, I never wear hats – my ears are those sticky-out kind and hats just emphasize that. I’ve always WANTED to be able to wear a hat – a sexy beret, a jaunty trilby, or a cute straw sunhat – but alas, unless I’m willing to look like Alfred E. Neuman, it’s just not going to happen).
When Michelle mentioned her audition and I saw that Listen to Your Mother was also holding auditions for the Albuquerque show, I was immediately intrigued. Plus, anything that Michelle does, I want to do, too. She’s super cool, and has a ton of followers on her blog, and publishes her work on other websites like the Huffington Post – so my thinking is that if I emulate her all the time, I also might become successful and loved by the masses– or she just might call the cops and have me arrested for creepy, stalkerish behavior. It’s a toss-up. In my defense, I did ask Michelle what she thought about me auditioning and her response was, “GOD NO!!!”
Wait a minute! That sounds bad!
What I actually asked her is if she would think I was creepy and stalkerish if I auditioned and that’s where the “GOD NO!!!” comes in. She went on to say, “That would be fucking cool! DO IT!!” So SEE, I got her blessing – and she probably won’t have me arrested (in the near future, anyway).
I signed up for auditions, picked one of my favorite blog posts about the bang-up job I did as a mother, and edited it so it fit the time parameters and still made sense – and then I nervously arrived at auditions. To my surprise, it was painless – it was just me and the two women who made the decision. As I read my piece, they nodded and laughed out loud several times (which was good, as it’s supposed to be a humorous story). They told me they would let me know and I was on my way in under 15 minutes.
Last week, I got the word that I will, indeed, be in the cast of the 2015 Albuquerque Listen to Your Mother performance! I was pretty excited – the last time I did a public reading was over 20 years ago, when I was still in radio (I recently found the VCR with that performance. I would upload it to YouTube for your amusement, but the quality is so bad that you probably couldn’t see anything. Would I lie about something like that?) I wasn’t sure I still had the chops, so I was pleased to see that, apparently, I still did!
The first rehearsal was this past weekend – Sunday from 4-6pm at a local library. I planned well in advance and figured that I could spend a full morning cooking, make a run to the Air Force base to do my monthly grocery shopping at the commissary, and still have plenty of time to get to the library! However, as I drove towards the library, congratulating myself on my excellent time management skills, it suddenly occurred to me that when I had been to this SAME library exactly one week before (for my audition), it closed at 5pm. How could rehearsal be from 4-6pm if the library closed at 5? I shook my head and I brushed away the concern – surely if the rehearsal had been from 3-5pm, they would have called me when I was late. And I was sure that the rehearsal had not been 3-5pm, because I have a thing about odd numbers – I don’t like them. They rankle me for some reason – don’t ask me why – but I would have remembered if the rehearsal had been from 3-5pm! Perhaps the library was staying open later – or perhaps the rehearsal was only one hour long instead of two.
I pulled into the library parking lot and went inside, looking into every conference and study room. I found small children making crafts, and a group of students who were trying to stifle their giggles as they read 50 Shades of Gray out loud, but no assembly of women reading stories about motherhood. After another pass to make sure I hadn’t missed a room, I called my son at home, asking him to get on my computer, pull up the email with the details, and read it to me.
Rehearsal had been scheduled that day from 2-4pm. I had missed it – totally and completely missed it.
I mentally kicked myself and physically slapped myself up the side of the head. I had been so sure of the time of rehearsal! I had actually opened that very email the day before, but apparently had not even looked the time, so sure was I of my erroneous information. It was like that horribly awkward situation with Barry Manilow all over again!
I called Ashlee, the organizer, and left a message, apologizing profusely for my lapse, telling her I understood this was a mandatory rehearsal so if I couldn’t be in the show, I would understand. And then I headed home in shame (but not before checking out about a dozen books! Did you know the library is a magical place that lets you just take books home, for free??? I foresee a reading binge in my immediate future – especially if I have a lot of time free due to no more rehearsals).
If you read my rather cryptic Facebook posts last night, you probably surmised that there is a happy ending to this story. Ashlee emailed me later that night, telling me that it was no big deal – and that actually three people had not been able to make the rehearsal. She mentioned that they had mostly wanted to check the flow of the stories and let everyone get an idea of how the show would go and the type of great stories they had included. She added that she had just read my story for everyone else and that they had “roared with laughter – in a good way.” Then she gently reminded me of the date and time of the next rehearsal – twice.
I’ve already added it to my calendar – after checking and rechecking the information about a dozen times.
If you’re in the Albuquerque area on Sunday, May 3rd – come see us! Tickets are on sale now and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Children’s Grief Center – a non-profit that provides support services to young people after the death of a loved one.
Have you ever had an incident where you are positive of something – only to find out later you were totally wrong? Do you think Michelle should be flattered or alarmed about my admiration? If I started a Rubber Shoes in Hell fan club, would you join?