Diane Flacks is on the ball in Bear With Me.
Writer/performer/mother Diane Flacks knows that pregnancy and motherhood are as much about poop culture as pop culture. To moms like me, her solo show, Bear With Me, is a shamelessly honest handbook on the trials of the trimesters and beyond.
Right from her exuberant full-bellied entrance, she delivers humour in a very physical way, yet director Kelly Thornton ensures things don't get slapsticky. Flacks candidly shares her personal experience of being a pregnant Jewish lesbian actor, while also hitting on the universal aspects of morning sickness, physical changes and breastfeeding. The re-enactments of hormonal mood swings and food cravings while shopping at Loblaws could land her the cover of the next President's Choice flyer.
In the style of bestselling tomes on pregnancy, Flacks divides her anecdotes into trimesters and post-partum life. She never loses continuity, though, keeping transitions smooth through lighting, staging that cleverly incorporates an exercise ball (also known as a birthing ball) and a few carefully chosen recordings - Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire gets slotted in with gleeful irony.
Her closing moments of contemplation to singer Jann Arden's Good Mother feel sentimental, but just show me a woman who can recall her kids' birth stories without getting a little verklempt.
And a final note: while Facebook may not embrace breastfeeding mothers, Nightwood welcomes them to socially network, with upcoming performances for those with babes in arms and one that offers babysitting.