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      EVERYONE HAS A MOTHER by Thomas Putnam

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      When Clay utters these words in FJ Hartland's POSTCARDS FROM A DEAD DOG we can hear the questioning and the uncertainty behind them. Everyone has a mother. Yes, but his didn't get the Donna Reed pill that colors the yearning of young boys as they imagine the ideal mother. Anytime we yearn for the ideal we're going to be disappointed, but in that disappointment we are offered the opportunity to grow and re-frame the relationship. We're offered the opportunity to crawl around in another's shoes and in so doing we can understand them a whole lot better. 

      Playwright Lauren Gunderson's claim that theatre's superpower is empathy has been a great source of encouragement and affirmation and, as I wrote about a few days ago, the opportunity to say YES! Now is the time for YES. YES, theatre's superpower is the offering to crawl around in another's skin. Clay's mother, at first glance, may not be a person in whose skin one might want to crawl. But YES, those are the exact people we must get to know. Only then can we see from another's eyes. Only then can we practice empathy.

      FJ Hartland's little 30 minute play offers this chance for healthy growth. As Clay looks back to his relationship first as a seven year old then as a middle-schooler, high-schooler, college student, independent young adult we see the relationship through his eyes. But in the hands of a good storyteller we are able to see at times what Clay cannot—and that's where we begin our crawl.

      This Saturday and Sunday we're inviting you to crawl around with us. Everyone has a mother, and we'll all be bringing our own histories and relationships and mothers to the experience. We have the opportunity to perhaps see our own mothers in new light. We have the opportunity to see other mothers—perhaps women towards whom we have aimed our criticism—and begin walking in healthy empathy. 

      Everyone has a mother. Yes....and....

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