Who: Auburn Public Theatre
Where: 8 Exchange St, Auburn, NY
When: Feb. 26-March 8
Review by Kate Drozynski
You should call your mom. Better yet, write her a letter. “Dear Mom,” an original play written by Jay Flazone and Nancy Holson presented by the Auburn Public Theater, aims to tackle the complex and often tense relationships between parents and their children through letters written by daughters to their mothers.
Through Linda, the daughter of the comatose and dying Joan, the audience is able to glimpse a complicated maternal relationship fraught with misunderstanding yet brimming with love. Flashbacks woven into the main story showed a timeline of significant events that built the bond that is now, both literally and figuratively, on life support.
Aubrey Panek played Linda through all phases of her life, from a 7-year-old in pigtails to the woman sitting in the hospital room grappling with the inevitable. The scenes in which she confronted the voice of her mother, played by Maureen Quigley, felt sincere and poignant. Quigley captured the essence of a woman wrestling with her own strained sense of self while trying to raise three children.
Peppered throughout the play are the letters from “Dear Mom,” a book given to Linda by a thoughtful friend in the first scene. Each letter is read and acted by Noelia Antweiler and serves as a transition from one scene to the next. Antweiler was a times over-the-top, but there were brief moments of true emotion that stunned.
“Dear Mom” makes a valiant attempt to unpack the intricate relationship between a daughter and her mother. The play touched the tip of the iceberg of a subject to monumental that few works of art can succeed at capturing its full depth. There is real emotion, though. Real love and hate and confusion and acceptance. “Dear Mom” serves as a reminder that relationships of any nature can be complicated and as a reminder of the value of investing in them.
Now, call your mom.