Contributed by Lynette Braxton
Playwright and director Miriam Tabb initially premiered broken motherhood museum in 2013 at 133rd Street Arts Center through NuAFrikan Theatre’s NuWorks series in Harlem. The staging last year was similar to a traditional museum setting: actors placed in designated areas with name plates describing them as artifacts and noting their habitats.
The current revival of broken motherhood museum is bold. Tabb breaks free from the austere façade of a traditional museum, staging the production in the site-specific Olga’s Salon and Spa. By placing her exhibits in a more naturalistic setting she creates a more immersive experience.
The salon is a typical New York second floor walk-up. It is a place where people take their broken self-images and become rejuvenated and empowered by new perspectives. When I visit salons I often hear patrons sharing personal failures and triumphs. In Olga’s Salon it is no different.
They individually and collectively reveal their life-stories of confusion, anger, and controversial choices. You are pulled into into the salon culture of storytelling and exposed to taboo tales of self-image, love, parenting, dating, religion, and social expectations.
Their stories create a deep sense of revelation and empathy especially within the tale of the young woman desperately trying to reach her boyfriend. Tormented by his refusal to answer her phone calls she leaves multiple voice messages to convince the boyfriend and father of her child that she needs him. Rejected and abandoned she slumps over defeated; barely lifting her her head up. It makes me wonder how many times in history this scenario has been played out.
The shared experience of the women culminates in the final movement of broken motherhood museum. Through a cathartic ritual they empower themselves. The salon patrons join in a victorious dance. Hands slowly extend upwards once more, not to surrender, but for collective restoration and renewal.
broken motherhood museum
Now through Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8PM; Sundays at 7PM
Olga’s Salon & Spa, NYC
Tickets are RSVP only
Purchase tickets by calling Miriam Tabb at 347 731-2664
$25 General; $15 Groups of 10 or more