Last Wednesday, I went to the opening of Kathleen Clark’s Secrets of A Soccer Mom at Arts Court. Arts Court is offering this comedy as part of its Summer Fling series. The show is set on a soccer field where three mothers are involved in a match with their children. As the narrative progresses it becomes clear that all three women are dissatisfied with the choices/sacrifices they’ve made to be mothers. As Lynn (Tania Levy) states “It is a sad fact that we have to say goodbye to the lighthearted girl that used to be.” All three characters are fairly two dimensional and Clark’s script has about as much depth as an 80’s sitcom. The audience seemed to enjoy it and there were plenty of good one liners. Yet, I was disturbed by the play’s message.
A major source of all three women’s distress stems from the behaviour of their husbands. Allison’s (Kate Smith) husband is a disturbing control freak who orders Allison around with little regard for her feelings. He sounds like the type of man that should have a restraining order placed against him. Lynn’s Husband is shockingly uncommunicative and the only time he ever listened to her was by negotiating 45 minutes of listening in exchange for sex that was painful to her. Disturbingly, Lynn considers this compromise a victory. Finally, Nancy (Maureen Smith) spouse just seems kind of absent. It becomes clear they haven’t been intimate for months. Her relationship sounds hollow and empty, which granted is less disturbing when compared to the abusive spouses of the other two.
All three of these women should get divorced, but Clark seems to be suggesting that they should just continue to make compromises with their spouses and find their identity in the pride their children feel for them. These kids are going to need a whole lot of therapy and I was filled with a bizarre mixture of contempt, horror, and pity for their mothers.
That being said, all three performers are quite strong and the audience seemed to be enjoying the witty one liners. There is a very funny dance sequence at the end of the play, which I really enjoyed.
On a technical level I found the sound design distracting. There are sounds of children playing on a loop through the show. This was unnecessary and rather than immersing the audience merely distracts them.
This one is a light fluffy comedy. I was quite troubled by its message. If you see it, I would be curious to know what your thoughts are. Perhaps, I am not giving enough credit to Clark. Maybe she wants us to be disturbed by the choices these three women make during the play. If this is the case, then I think stronger artistic choices should have been made by director Kate Hurman to bring this issue to the forefront. The play would have been darker, but better for it.