So many people have asked me why I decided to write a play about
caring for my Mom. For me, it was a no-brainer. After all, I’d already written a memoir about my bird. My Mom deserved at least as much.
When Mom first moved in, I noticed funny things she’d say or do. Somehow, in the midst of caring for her, I had the wherewithal to take notes. Lots of them.
I wanted to capture these moments, not because I’m a writer, but because I’m a daughter. I wanted to remember. I wasn’t sure what I would do with the notes at first, assuming I’d write a book of some sort once Mom went to her heavenly home.
I’d often share stories with family and friends. Their reactions were priceless! We all laughed till we cried. I’d joke that I was going to take
this show on the road and share these stories with as many people as I could.
I debated about the best way to convey my thoughts and experiences, and this one-woman show is my answer. My plan was to travel the country to share the message of caring for my Mom. It has now grown to a goal of presenting the show on Broadway.
When I was ready to begin this project, I searched online for How to Write a One-Woman Show. A link sent me to Tony Award winning producer Ken Davenport’s TheaterMakers Studio.
I spent 30 days gathering stories, then organizing them into the beginnings of my show. I struggled to find the right tone, not wanting to present it as stand-up comedy because there were some serious moments in there, but also not to do a drama. Some stories were just too funny!
Mr. Davenport encouraged me to define the show on my terms and suggested one or two shows to keep in mind as inspiration. He also shared stories of how other productions had utilized the stage set to enhance their stories.
I finished the first draft just as COVID hit. I wasn’t in the mood to focus on my project because there was so much going on in the world. But, after a few months, I took the script out again and realized just how much I needed to edit!
I worked hard on the second draft, finally getting the flow just the way I wanted it to be. Then, I did a timed reading – end to end in one session. I’d previously read every part of the play aloud but not the whole script at once. The goal for a one-person show is 90 minutes.
My first timed reading clocked in at one hour 50 minutes!
I have some trimming to do! I’m working on that now.
The other aspect I’m adding is an original soundtrack, including songs my Dad wrote long ago. They’ll be tweaked from his original renditions, but I’m so thrilled to be able to include him as part of this project.
Mr. Davenport has been very supportive of my show and very inspirational, too. Just a few minutes on the phone with him and my work skyrockets forward.
What was once just a seed of a thought said by chance, has grown to a beautiful show with a number of supporting projects. (More to come). I learned so much caring for my Mom, and I know there are millions of others worldwide who are or have been in similar situations.
This play is a tribute to my Mom, but also addresses so many of the concerns, the cares, that weigh on caregivers every day. One of my goals of the show is to help caregivers recognize that it’s ok to laugh, even though the situation is tough. Sharing those cares with others is very restorative.
Life is an attempt to make sense of the happy and sad, easy and difficult times. Both laughter and tears provide healing. My hope is that All the Cares in the World sheds some light on the caregiver experience while offering an entertaining escape for the time we share. Perhaps the show will even trigger memories of someone you love.
It was an honor to care for my Mom, and I wouldn’t have any of this without her. If I told her what I was doing, she’d probably tell me,
“That’s nice. Keep your day job.”
That’s my Mom. Gotta love her.
Looking forward to seeing you at a performance!