Cheese made from breast milk? An apple that annihilates acne? Bananas to make your nails grow? Be sure to save room for Laura Poe’s rich and highly inventive one-woman show, The Mothers of Invention. Written and performed by Ms. Poe with superb animations from Molly Light, the play evokes a world where potato chips induce euphoric hallucinations and corn chips inflate the nation’s test scores.
Wild and raucous, punctuated with cartoon commercials and talk-show parodies, the show unfolds with an unwavering sharpness as it weaves together the lives of three women struggling to keep their jobs and support their families in the frenzy of a KaChing potato chip overhaul.
The ebullient Ms. Poe, whose vocal styling glides easily between the slalomed arpeggios of a Midwest potato farmer and the flat nasal register of a Martha Stewart-type, brings to each of her six characters an exquisite integrity. And her energy is entirely contagious. What is perhaps most compelling about the performance is how assertively Ms. Poe engages with her audience, casting them as Board Members of the AmeriVeg corporation, studio audiences of talk shows, and the receiving end of telephone conversations.
Ultimately, though the narrative ensnares the snappy quirkiness of a Saturday Night Live skit, it still manages to arrive at the poignant – though appropriately strange – conclusion that homegrown remedies are the best solutions to the disasters of our burgeoning population. The maternal compassion in Poe’s fine-tuned social commentary just might send you racing home to experiment with your very own toilet-grown vegetables.
And to call your mother.
- Running Time: 70 minutes.
- Tickets: Mothers of Invention
- Remaining Shows: Sat, July 12 at 9 . Fri, July 18 at 8 . Sun, July 20 at 8 . Fri, July 25 at 6:30 . Sun, July 27 at 5
- Where: Goethe Institute . 812 7th St NW
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