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Playing at: Flashpoint: Mead Theatre Lab
Remaining Performances: July 20 at 6:30 p.m., July 24 at 12:30 p.m. Tickets available here.
They Say: A musing on the all-powerful, all-vulnerable experience of new motherhood and learning to accept the mothers we have. Storytelling, dance, music, and striking DIY design interlace in this heartfelt and darkly humorous show, devised and performed by real-life new parents.
Raye Says: Robin Neveu Brown and Kevin Alan Brown wrote, directed, and act in soft animal.hideous heart, a jarring and sometimes tragic portrayal about having and being parents.
In the first act, Robin explores the nature of motherhood and birth through spoken narrative and modern dance, which she uses to express what words cannot. “This story cannot be told,” she says as she sways. “It’s too long, too strong to be captured living in a deeper, darker place than a word can reach.”
The play abruptly descends into dark humor in act two as Kevin enters in a tattered black overcoat. Interspersing dialogue with text from The Tell-Tale Heart, he portrays a son losing his mind over his mother’s madness. As the character in Poe’s story becomes overwhelmed with thoughts about the mangled body of the man he murdered, Kevin’s spit flew as he repeatedly screamed “Just be normal!” at an invisible image of his mother.
Though the two acts are drastically different in tone, they complement each other and unite scraps of two stories into a brief, raw portrait of parenthood.
The fact that the two individuals who wrote, performed, and directed the play are parents added something unsettling to the experience. There’s something eerie about the play’s conflation of joy and sorrow: The two often look so similar that it’s impossible to tell the difference, revealing the complexities of parenting. It delved into a palpable terror and joy that bordered on hyper-realistic.
See it if: You’ll enjoy a short play that packs a punch.
Skip it: You own a “meninist” T-shirt.