One enters into the eulogy of Mamita by her grown daughter, Charla, played by the playwright Adriana Hillas. But this one-woman performance is much more than a eulogy that remembers a loved one’s life. Charla’s performance not only eulogizes her mother, but also allows the audience to witness her attempt to transition through her grief, reckon with her upbringing, and understand her direction in life after her own children are grown. She seems to have tapped into the comforting understanding that her mother lives within her and she can tap into her mother whenever she wishes by dreaming.
And, her children will be able to do the same when she is gone. Hillas’ performance as Charla takes the experience of grief over a mother’s death as the vehicle that “gives birth to oneself as a woman.” Even though she discounts this notion, it is evident to the audience this transition is happening as she aims to slip from a muted existence to living a meaningful life in full
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Hillas has good command of body movement and the entire stage. I think I have a good idea of what Mamita looks like as Charla’s applies makeup and earrings and emerges as an older woman. Daughter becomes Mother. She uses vocal accents to distinguish who is talking: Charla, Mamita, or a child persona of Charla. The shifting between accents could be more deliberate to aid clarity. The actor uses music to emphasize different events and transitions in her life. Some are highly effective, but other’s less so. Hillas slips in and out of Spanish so the audience member without a minimal working knowledge of Spanish may miss some key points.
Mamita‘ s favorite perfume: Joy. My mother’s: Opium. I felt unsettled in the first moments of the performance. I’m not sure why. However, I realized I had been thinking just this morning of my own mother as I am a spectator in her slow withering. I became unable to divorce my own self from the performance.
Mamita closes July 27, 2019 Details and tickets
My own loss will not be a sudden event like Charla’s so perhaps I can take some unintended advice from her to ease my own transition when ‘the event’ happens. Some key themes from the perspective of a daughter resonate with me: considering how a mother would never have dreamed that her children would judge her so harshly. For many, a eulogy could be the time to realize our judgments may have been too biting. Charla realizes that Mamita is always enough. For myself, and those who see this performance, there is still time.
If your mom is still alive, go give her a call and tell her she was enough. If not, go into your dreams and relive your memories with her.