‘Mother.Redux’ Takes on Motherhood at Miles Memorial Playhouse

By Fanny Garcia
Founding Editor

Carmela Herman and Carolina San Juan in 'Mother.Redux.' Photo Credit: Paul Antico

Carmela Herman and Carolina San Juan in ‘Mother.Redux.’
Photo Credit: Paul Antico

SuarezDanceTheater is a Los Angeles based dance theater company with a mission to produce work that challenges the social constructs society places on women. Christine Suarez founded the company in 1998 with a mission to “merge innovative movement, honest storytelling, academic scholarship and community activism.”  

The company is currently rehearsing Mother.Redux, which will open on March 7th, 2014 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse. Mother.Redux is the second part of a trilogy which started with Suarez’ solo show called Mother.F*cker in which she explored her personal transformation into motherhood. In Mother.Redux, “five performers plunge feet first into the mayhem of motherhood.”

The performers are a multiracial and multicultural cast of five women who are artists, academics, producers, and dancers. Carolina San Juan infused Filipino vaudeville into the show, while Shelby Williams-Gonzalez is an Afro-Brazilian dancer, and Giavanni Washington shared her studies in West African dance and drumming. Carmela Herman and Christine Suarez are the contemporary dancers in the group. Each also wrote about their personal experiences giving birth and raising children. The women explore abortion rights, contraception, sexuality, and how to discuss race with their children.

With Mother.Redux, the writers/performers want to present not just the “miracle of transformation” but also expose the sexism, racism, isolation, and anxiety that motherhood unravels in their lives. “There is still a lot of pressure for contemporary women to make being a Mom the pinnacle that completes a woman…The idea that motherhood is this mystical thing is not accurate.” says Suarez.  Women deal with a whole range of issues before, during, and after pregnancy that society ignores.

Part of the women’s performance is also an acknowledgement of every woman and mother in their individual family lines. The set becomes a timeline in which the group collectively acknowledges a mother or grandmother. Suarez explains, “It’s important to recognize the historical and cultural inheritance that we’ve each received from the line of women who came before us”.

Besides being one of the writers and performers of Mother.Redux, Carolina San Juan is also a Women’s Studies professor at Cal State Dominguez Hills. For her, the show is a response to the current political climate in the U.S. “In America, all mothers are second class citizens…We are not paid for our labor, we are considered a burden on the economy and stigmatized for not working, for not being productive.” She recently joined the SuarezDanceTheater’s Board of Directors and hopes the collaboration with Suarez will yield a body of work that explores feminism from a multicultural perspective that challenges the marginalization of women.

Mother.Redux is scheduled for four performances starting March 7th, 2014 at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica.  For the run of the show, SuarezDanceTheater is in partnership with local artists and community-based organizations who will conduct art, dance, and drumming workshops for adults and children before the start of each show. Childcare will be available. For more information about the company, visit their website at http://www.suarezdance.org/

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Written and choreographed by

Christine Suarez in collaboration with Teresa Blake, Carmela Herman, Carolina San Juan, Giavanni Washington, and Shelby Williams-Gonzalez.

Directed by
Teresa Blake

Friday, March 7 at 8 pm
Saturday, March 8 at 3 pm and 8 pm
Sunday, March 9 at 3 pm

Miles Memorial Playhouse
1130 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90403

General Admission: $20
Students and Seniors: $15