During the next two weekends, Cal State Long Beach's Players Theatre will play host to a playful peek into the highs and lows of parenting.
Written and performed by Long Beach local Megan Dolan, "Lemur Mom (because we can’t all be tiger moms)" is a touching and relatable presentation of the gap between the expectation and reality of motherhood.
Having spent years writing and acting, Dolan said she initially believed that raising two small children, Tyler and Hadley Wingate, would signal the end of her theater career. However, she said she discovered that “motherhood gives you a lot of material.” Dolan began drafting this show after her son was diagnosed with autism.
“I was forced to confront my own inadequacies,” she said. “I was surrounded by very Type A, organized, seemingly put-together parents and I felt like I was none of those things. I was concerned about how my defects might affect his progress. I started writing about my experiences as a way to see them clearly and make sense out of them.”
Dolan partnered with Wendy Hammers, a stand-up comedian, actor and director who specializes in solo shows. Hammers, whose personal credits include appearances on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The Sopranos," "Oprah" and "The Late Show with Craig Ferguson," “is very adept at finding the funny in any situation,” according to Dolan.
"Lemur Mom (because we can’t all be tiger moms)" opened in November 2018 at the Lyric/Hyperion Theatre in Silverlake and continued with performances in Sherman Oaks, Petaluma, Long Beach, Northridge and Santa Monica.
The NoHo Arts District review said, “Lemur Mom is so wonderfully constructed and so exquisitely performed that it leaves no doubt in Megan’s ability to grip an audience with her story and in Wendy Hammer’s direction to support and develop and encourage Megan’s voice.”
After seeing Dolan’s performance, New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott said, “This show has everything I love — humor, humanity, and heart.”
A CSULB graduate, Dolan lives in Long Beach with her husband, Erik Wingate, and children. In March 2019, she performed this show at Cal State Long Beach for a theater department fundraiser. She described returning to her alma mater as a surreal, but happy, experience.
“Joining the (CSULB) theater department was kind of the beginning of me figuring out who I was as a creative person and it was a turning point of sorts,” Dolan said. “So coming back to perform there after having lived as an artist, wife, mother and writer for many years was very satisfying.”
Dolan said she enjoys interacting with the audience after the show — she hopes her story helps others break through their own self-judgment as parents.
“I find that most everyone has a connection to someone with autism and they all want to share their experiences," Dolan said. "It’s been so incredibly rewarding to be the catalyst for these conversations.”
"Lemur Mom (because we can’t all be tiger moms)" opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the CSULB Players Theatre, with additional evening shows on Jan. 11, 17, and 18. There is a 2 p.m. matinee show this Sunday, Jan. 12.
Tickets, which are $20, are available at www.lemurmom.com.