New drama uncovers supressed pain

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Mother/son by Lewis Morrow & provided by KC Melting Pot Theatre

The final entry in Lewis Morrow’s play trilogy, “Mother/son” opened Sept.16 at the Just Off Broadway Theatre where KC Melting Pot celebrates the black voices with plays produced to give new playwrights, famous plays, and African-American actors new opportunities to hone their craft.

The newest play to grace the stage, “Mother/son” gives an intimate look into the pain and anger that both rips apart the love between a mother and son, while also examining the umbilical cord that bound them.

“‘Mother/son” engages the aftereffects of parent-child relationships in this compelling story about race, redemption, and recovery,” Morrow explains in a synopsis of the play.

In this case, a white woman marries an African-American man and bares his children. The story delves into a look at race and the emotions of a young man, half black and half white. He discusses his feelings from childhood onward and how his life has been affected from choices made by his parents choices.

Add John’s relationship to his mother, Lydia, who evolved into a drug addict, relying on pills and other substances. While attempting to help his mother, their relationship suffers explosive bursts, anger, and painful memories. Two lives, damaged by drugs, anger, questions, and unintentional harm create a story of human drama.

‘Mother/son” photo by TK Photography and provided by KC Melting Pot.

 

“Mother/son” continues Morrow’s trilogy of plays. Morrow’s plays feature lots of words, but they paint the picture he intends. He takes his audiences inside the hidden walls of relationships and they generally portray events outsiders do not see or hear. The dialogue carries the characters and plot. Morrow excels in writing dialogue–which is the strength of his works.

On the same note, no one can convey Morrow’s story better than he can. So, expect to see him in his plays. His performance delivers the character and story the way he wants it to be delivered. He’s close to his dialogue and the emotional roller-coaster he expects of his central character.

In a role far from what she usually plays on Kansas City stages, Jan Rogge delivers a drug-crazed mother trying to break free from drugs while living with her son. Rogge goes toe to toe with Morrow and equals his passion and anger throughout the play. Her character shows a wide range of emotional burdens as her son blames her for much of the pain he suffered while growing up as the son of a mixed marriage. It’s a problem that a mother can’t change or fix. Rogge excels in this portrayal.

A minor part of the play involves John’s love interest played by relative newcomer to KC theatre–Jackie Price. As Tisha, former wife of John, Price’s character attempts to deliver the truth to John so he can move forward. Only on stage shortly in Act II, Price demonstrates that she is ready for bigger parts to showcase her talent.

“Mother/son” photo by TK Photography & courtesy of KC Melting Pot Theatre

While watching the play, audiences understand the pain felt by John and Lydia. Lydia cannot undue a child she birthed, and John cannot forgive her for the pain that his heritage gave him. So, she cannot give him what he needs, nor can she undo the harm he has suffered from her choices. John cannot just forgive her and move on. Still, with the anguish, no unintended pain can find resolution.

Overall, “Mother/son” takes audiences behind the facade of a mixed marriage and mixed offsprings. Lewis Morrow rips the cover off to show the reality of being in that situation. The story’s raw truth is both challenging and eye-opening. “Baybra’ Tulips” and “Begetters” and “Mother/son” comprise Morrow’s trilogy of plays.

Director Nicole Hodges-Persley navigated the show and created the perfect balance as the power and focus shifts from John to Lydia with each having moments of gripping dialogue. The character of Tisha helps the audience with a clue of resolution.

“Mother/son” continues through Sept. 24 at the Just Off Broadway Theater. The play contains strong language and would possibly not engage younger audiences. The play contains two acts, and it runs about two hours.

Just a little music that provides hope to a desperate situation from The Mills Brothers.

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