Cry It Out offers a clear-eyed look at motherhood today as well as a poignant perspective on the joys and triumphs experienced by new parents. This dramatic comedy cuts through many of our romanticized preconceptions about motherhood as we join three new moms who are grappling with the biological, social and marital upheavals that confront them as new parents. Metzler’s show also celebrates the profound human connections and the solidarity that can grow between women through their shared experience of being mothers.
Cry It Out is set in the sleepy suburb of Port Washington on the North Shore of Long Island. This community is a melting pot where the working poor, the middle class, urban professionals, and the elite “one percenters” all live in close proximity to one another – though the wealthier folks live up on the ridge, overlooking their less affluent neighbors.
Jessie (Morgan Laurel Cohen) is a successful Manhattan corporate lawyer who is now on maternity leave and cooped up at home. Her husband works every day in the city while she stays at home caring for the baby, growing ever more lonely and starved for company. When she learns that her neighbor Lina (Kendal Romero) is also a new mom, the two quickly become friends. Despite their many differences – Lina is wisecracking South-shore girl and community-college dropout – the two women bond quickly as they discover the many things they have in common, from breastfeeding challenges to anxieties about balancing work and parenthood when they go back to their jobs.
During one of their coffee dates, Jessie and Lina are interrupted by a man neither of them knows. Mitchell (Darren Wagner) introduces himself as a neighbor who lives up on the cliffs overlooking their homes. He tells the women that he’s observed their get-togethers and their obvious camaraderie, and has a favor to ask. His own wife Adrienne (Bailey Castle) is also a new mother. She has been struggling, he says, with loneliness and possible postpartum depression. He’d like to help her, but isn’t sure how. Would these women be willing to invite her to join their coffee dates and share their companionship – and hopefully help Adrienne feel better? Jessie and Lina warily agree.
When the three women meet, their conversations take surprising turns as they take on some of the biological, economic, and marital challenges they all face as new mothers. Their discussions reveal much about not only the physical and emotional strains of new motherhood, but also the all-too-real economic disparities that force hard choices on many parents as they make the perilous journey through parenthood. At the same time, they also discover the saving grace of friendship and laugh-out-loud silliness that helps them get through the maddening absurdity of early parenthood.
As Elizabeth Mazur Levin, director of this Oil Lamp production puts it, “Cry It Out allows us a vehicle to experience different and honest perspectives on what it feels like to be a parent—the good, the bad, the hilarious, and the challenging. It also shows us how we can find connections between people who seem so outwardly different, but who share many similar struggles.”
Cry It Out was commissioned by Actors Theater of Louisville in Kentucky where it premiered at the 2017 Humana Festival of New American Plays. It has since been produced to enthusiastic responses from both audiences and critics around the country, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Hartford, Atlanta and Boston. Cry It Out was produced by Northlight Theater in Skokie in 2018.
“A deeply felt topical drama that takes audiences on an emotional roller-coaster ride that whipsaws through laughs, poignant tears and moments of monumental rage.” —LEO Weekly
“A funny story that weaves together very different but highly meaningful stories from three new mothers.” — USA Today
“Tender, revealing and incisive… Cry it Out is consistently masterful in creating characters who feel real.” —WFPL Louisville
“Empathetic and enjoyable … it all rings utterly true.” — Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“Funny and sharp… Swift-moving and laugh-out-loud entertaining.”— The Washington Post
“A beautiful, believable picture of how imperfect new parents strive to cope in a society that offers them little support.”—Washington City Paper
Directed by Elizabeth Mazur Levin
Stage Manager Bronte DeShong
Morgan Laurel Cohen