Mom Dearest

Rating: NNNNNshe never bought me an easy-bake oven directed by Kerri MacDonald, with Diane Daniel, Raven Dauda, Tracey Hoyt, Keira.


Rating: NNNNN

she never bought me an easy-bake oven directed by Kerri MacDonald, with Diane Daniel, Raven Dauda, Tracey Hoyt, Keira Loughran and Tricia Williams. Written and presented by the Easy-Bake Collective at the Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). Opens April 4 and runs to April 20, Thursday-Friday 9 pm, Saturday 10:30 pm. $20, stu/srs $16. 416-343-0011.

“my mother’s driving me nuts.” How many times have you heard, or said, those words?Well, have I got a show for you.

She Never Bought Me An Easy-Bake Oven, written and performed by a troupe of talented, funny, sensitive women who’ve all sputtered that phrase many times, examines the unique bond between mothers and daughters.

The show was a big hit at the Fringe 2000 festival, where audience response was so strong — from daughters, mothers and even guys — that the company knew they had to mount it again.

Now it’s back, as new and improved as the latest Duncan Hines offering but with a lot more substance and nutrition, not to mention emotional home truths.

“Your mother is the first relationship you have with anybody in the world, so of course it has this huge impact on your life,” explains Tricia Williams, who along with director Kerri MacDonald came up with the idea for the show several years ago.

Williams, an actor and comic most recently seen in the awesome ensemble for Djanet Sears’s The Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search Of God, originally imagined the piece as an homage or tribute to her mother, who had recently passed away. MacDonald had some stories she wanted to get off her chest, too.

Pretty soon the two were sharing their anecdotes and asking all the women they knew about their relationships with their moms. They heard everything, from picture-perfect scenarios to women who’d stopped speaking to their moms.

“I always found that hard to comprehend,” says Williams. “I mean, she’s your mother!”

The title comes from Williams’s own experience as a seven-year-old with five other sisters and a practical, no-fuss West Indian-Canadian mother who couldn’t understand why a child would want such a frivolous, expensive (remember the replacement cake mix packets!) toy.

“The title is the essence of my childhood,” laughs Williams. “There was lots of love, but there was always that little something that nagged you. “Why didn’t she do this?’ Or “Why did she do that?’

“You mention the title to any woman and there’s always an excited response. No one is neutral.”

As in the Fringe version, the play includes looks at sex, makeup, men, body image and food issues. A lesbian scene has been added to the recipe. And without the last-minute pressure of the Fringe, the themes have been mixed together with more care this time around.

One scene has mother Williams appeasing her own anxiety about her life by rewarding and force-feeding her daughter with potato chips. It now has more resonance.

“When we first did that scene I didn’t connect to it,” says Williams. “Now I see the connections between my own issues around food and being loved. It’s not just a comical scene. It’s about a mother needing something from her daughter and using the food as a bonding moment because she’s sad and lonely.”

And what would Williams’s own mother have thought of the piece?

“She’d have enjoyed it,” says Williams, clearly moved. “She was supportive of me and my career. The thing is, though, I don’t know if we would have written the show if she were still alive.”glenns@nowtoronto.com

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