Review: The Silent Struggle of ‘The Mothers’ | By Erin Cripps-Woods

The title and description of the play “The Mothers” provides only enough information to intrigue and leaves just enough out to keep you wondering about the tragedy that binds a mother to her estranged son.

The scene is set in the boxed up room of the son. The mother, Grace, begins to reminisce about his upbringing. This one-woman show takes the audience to the darkest places of a parent’s mind. Where the feeling of giving up and thinking they never did enough for their children is prevalent.

Now the big question. What is the tragedy that brings a mother back again and again to her son’s boxed up room? The answer in my mind was possibly suicide, which is such a touchy and all-too present subject in the world of growing up and trying to discover who you are as a person.

Grace brought the truth of her heartache out into the light. Her son, her sweet and intelligent Ben, killed another boy at school. The revelation was shocking and heart wrenching. Not only has this mother lost her son to the justice system by his violent action, but also she and her family must now come to terms with the fact that one of their own is a killer. Actress, Annette Loiselle, perfectly captured the essence of a mother suffering from deep inner turmoil.

I did not realize that I had an unanswered question in the back of my mind until the moment Grace began to speak about the tragedy. What happens to the families of those people who commit such crimes?

Think about the numerous school shootings that have occurred in the past decade. We all feel the pain associated with such a horrific event. Thoughts and prayers go to the family members who have lost loved ones. We hold our families just a little bit closer thinking of how we would feel if we lost someone.

Now think about the families of the accused killers. What happens to them? Grace goes into detail about the aftermath and the fight to stay above water and not drown in the sorrow and blame.

“No one calls when this kind of thing happens. Friends who you thought would don’t and family only does because they are obligated to,” says Grace.

Grace goes through every moment she can remember between her and Ben. Where did she go wrong? What could she have done differently?

As this strong woman shows, no one is perfect. A fateful event such as this has a way of making you second guess every action. Grace speaks for all of The Mothers who wonder where they went wrong.

Finally, Graces reconciles with the fact that parenting is not an exact science. Ben pulled the trigger. Not Grace. She can apologize for not being there for him enough or for not recognizing the signs more clearly that he needed help. However, Grace and her family are also the victims in this tragic event. Their struggle is behind closed doors and in the silence of a boxed up bedroom.

The Mothers is a rare glimpse into the other side of loss and how one mother finally is able to move on from the moment that changed everything. The production of such an emotionally charged event with the casting of a sole actress spoke volumes about the talent of not only the playwright Nicole Moeller but also the production itself. The cast and crew brought the audience into a world seldom seen or discussed openly among communities.

I would recommend every parent who has ever questioned if they could have done better to go see this. Any and every person should find a way to experience this show, to hear what happens on the flip side of a tragedy. This unique play provides such amazing insight into the world of being part of a family struggling to make the best of a terrible situation.


Banner photo courtesy of Bottom Line Productions