Secrets of a Soccer Mom @ The Boulevard

By - Mar 1st, 2009 11:40 pm
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By Jenna Raymond

Soccer Mom. It’s a term that crept into the American vernacular near the end of the twentieth century. It’s a woman who drives a mini-van or an SUV, visits Starbucks everyday and has an expensive cell phone that constantly ringing with calls about the PTA. She ‘runs errands’ every day of the week and manages her ‘schedule’ around her children’s athletic and extra-curricular activities. Right? Outwardly, that’s a generic description of Soccer Moms. The Boulevard Theatre’s Secrets of a Soccer Mom shows both the typical Soccer Mommian attributes as well as the deeper mysteries and enigmas of all those blond-highlighted women driving luxury mini-vans.

Written by Kathleen Clark, Secrets of a Soccer Mom begins with three women meeting to play in a Mom vs Son soccer match. They agree to play poorly in order to let their third grade sons win. While waiting on the sidelines for their turn to rotate into the game they at first talk over classic Soccer Mom topics; the PTA, pizza day at school and field trips. As the day goes on, the three veer off from the pre-approved small talk subjects and delve into their innermost beings. As a result of exploring their pasts and presents, the three decide not to hand over a victory to their sons. Even though it looks like a silly suburban soccer game it turns into a personal battle for Nancy, Lynn and Alison.

Alison, played by Marion Araujo, is at first not completely on board with playing badly. It comes out that she was an athlete before she got married. Her husband didn’t like her competing or playing on any kind of team. She sees the afternoon as a chance to leave the confines of her marriage behind; figuratively and maybe even literally. Araujo’s early enthusiasm seemed a bit contrived. However, she portrays Alison’s sincere yet naïve plans to run away in a simple and frank manner.

As Nancy, Kathleen Williams outwardly seems incredibly archetypal. In a fleece and capris she chats with her fellow Soccer Moms while keeping an eye on her own children as well as others. It’s discovered that she ran in college and used to be a model. While Nancy loves her children with her entire heart, it’s obvious that she gave up much of who she was before she had them. Williams especially shines while flipping through a children’s picture book, pointing out her favorite characters and scenes as though it’s the latest Zadie Smith novel.

While all three women hold their own in the Boulevard’s studio theatre, it’s really Brooke Wegner playing Lynn that steals the show. Lynn is a former social worker turned PTA-school volunteer-Soccer Mom. She organizes absolutely everything and still manages to keep up on her gossip and refrain from throttling her mother-in-law during Sunday dinner. Wegner seems to live two roles on stage; Public Lynn and Inner Lynn. Public Lynn chats, jests and conspires with her fellow Soccer Moms. While Inner Lynn rarely utters a word, Wegner’s expressions and gestures articulate the thoughts and reactions that Lynn wouldn’t dare say aloud. Much of the comedy comes from Wegner’s delivery and timing.

Director Ruth Boulet uses the Boulevard’s studio space to its fullest. The actual soccer game takes place off stage as the real action is happening in lawn chairs on the sidelines. Boulet’s direction makes it easy to forget that it’s just three Soccer Moms chatting the afternoon away. She easily avoids turning the 90 minute play into simply a series of discussions. Even though the three women spend most of their time sitting, Boulet makes Secrets of a Soccer Mom seems rife with activity. Secrets of a Soccer Mom runs through March 29 at the Boulevard Theatre in Bayview. For show and ticket information call 414.744.5757 or visit www.boulevardtheatre.com.

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