“You all ready to get depressed?”
It’s a lighthearted way to begin a performance, particularly when the title promises a subject matter that’s really less than cheery. That being said, Pamela Meek (a psychologist and mother) brings a certain ease to the presentation of a scarring childhood and rocky adolescence.
She presents everything in what she calls “snapshot memories” — bits and pieces of her life from as early as the age of two, all the way up to her mid-forties. The early memories detailed are not particularly happy; or rather, particularly wholesome. Her mother, as Meek later notes, “did the best she could”, but the results are no less horrifying; calling her children to tell them that someone was coming to kidnap them, and that they needed to hide in the hall closet, when really their mother was just out and would be gone for a few hours. And the list goes on — reasons why her father left while Meek was in college, all the way up to a final conversation at her mother’s deathbed.
How to Be a Good Mom… When You’ve Got a Schizophrenic Mother for a Role Model
written and performed by Pamela Meek
Director: Lynnie Raybuck
Details and tickets
In some ways, How to Be a Good Mom… When You’ve Got a Schizophrenic Mother for a Role Model could be perceived as a cautionary tale, but really, as Meek announces at the beginning of the performance, it’s a detailed account of legacy. Meek explores what is passed down consciously, unconsciously, and genetically, first from her mother to her, and then from her to her own daughter, Nora. Near the end, she focuses on the relationship between the trio of women and art, following each child’s interest in drawing, painting — and even welding. It is this focus that is most compelling, hitting home for the artists in the audience gathered in the small upper room of The Argonaut.
Meek’s presentation is sometimes stiff and uncomfortable, perhaps understandable, given the subject matter. Dramatic storytelling is often the tragedy to stand-up’s comedy, and yet she finds a few places to slip in small chunks of humor. The final message is one of hope, forgiveness for the transgressions of our parents, and understanding of the importance of confidence and perseverance in ourselves.
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