By Julia B. Rosenblatt, Artistic Director, HartBeat Ensemble (Pictured above)
The idea to write a musical about motherhood came to me while I was writing my last play and nursing my second child. That was the winter that my infant had Swine Flu, my kindergartner had a record number of school snow days and this play about local drug trafficking was apparently not writing itself. I was telling my friend and HartBeat Ensemble partner, Greg Tate, that between the constant pressures of motherhood, career and financial stability, my life could easily spin out of control at the drop of a pacifier. To this my wise friend said, “Well that’s what’s behind the movement for counting childrearing as part of the Gross Domestic Product. Think about how much easier this would all be if raising children was valued for what it is – producing human capital, which is two thirds of any nation’s capital.” Hmmm… that was something to think about.
What would it look like if motherhood was valued monetarily in the US? How different would my life be? How different would all of our lives be? Gross Domestic Product is a musical about motherhood that traverses the heartfelt as well as the outrageous, while examining what this “labor of love” is actually worth to society. As award-winning journalist Ann Crittenden noted, “Why is motherhood as American as apple pie and still the least valued job in our country?”
I have been working on this project for three years and I cannot tell you how many times my life has seemed to imitate the play I was writing. I would be on a train to Bridgeport to interview a group of mothers while fielding calls about my kids’ doctor’s appointments, parent teacher conferences and of course the daily call from my husband asking, “Am I picking up the kids today or are you?”
One of the first songs I wrote for this play is called, “As Long As I Don’t Sit Down.” It has become a mantra for me and the other mothers working on the project. We take breaks for actors who need to pump, make room for the lighting designer’s children when her babysitter falls through, and lament the lack of paid maternity leave our pregnant director will have when her second child is born. It is all very “meta” really.
Gross Domestic Product runs April 7 – May 1, 2016 with performances scheduled Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at hartbeatensemble.org or by calling (860) 548-9144 x115: General admission is $25; students, seniors, Let*s Go Arts Members are $20. There is a CT Working Mom discount of $5 off! Use the code: WorkingMoms. Free parking is available the Mark Twain House visitor parking lot or on Woodland, Gillett and Forrest Streets.
This is a sponsored post.