WAAPA graduate and Green Room Award winner Sophie Carter (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Jerry Springer the Musical) had a quick chat with AussieTheatre this week about her latest project – Motherhood The Musical.
Playing at the Seymour Centre next month (and touring extensively throughout the country until September 28), Motherhood the Musical features subject matter that Sophie can both laugh at and relate to…
How do you relate to this piece as a mother yourself?
Where do I begin!? There are so many things I relate to, from all of the characters in the show. I think this show is fantastic because it encapsulates the two sides of being a mother.
On one side you’re exhausted, pulled in several directions, trying to be a good mum and a good wife, juggling parenthood and career, trying to keep everyone happy, dealing with your post baby body, saying goodbye to aspects of your old life as your new life as a mother takes over.
But then there’s the flip side. You feel a love that you have never felt before. I know it sounds corny, but it’s totally true! Suddenly you have this precious little person who depends on you, and it’s honestly a joy that you can’t prepare yourself for. In the course of the show, the characters focus on the more exhausting, day to day aspects of being a mother, but in the end they realise that their children are part of what makes them who they are, and that love for your child really does trump any of the negative aspects of motherhood. I can completely relate to that.
Do you think your perspective would have been different if you performed in the show pre-kids?
Oh definitely… I think I would have thought the show was exaggerated!! Rehearsing the show, as the only mother within the cast, I kept saying, “you do realise this is all true don’t you…?”. It’s the first time that I have performed elements of my real life on stage, so from an acting point of view, it’s been a unique opportunity to be able to reference experiences that I know quite intimately.
What makes this show so wonderful? How do women relate?"As a performer, it’s so different to hear an audience laugh or cry because they totally identify with the characters on stage"
I think this show is different to so many musicals. The thing that makes it so wonderful and unique, is that 98% of the audience relate to every word and know EXACTLY what we’re talking about. They’re not seeing a show that needs them to suspend their disbelief, that takes them away to an imaginary place about a green witch, or a man wearing a mask, or a flying nanny, this is an hour and a half of us saying to the audience ‘we get it, we understand what you go through every single day, and although it might be tough sometimes, isn’t it also amazing!?’.
As a performer, it’s so different to hear an audience laugh or cry, because they totally identify with the characters on stage. That doesn’t happen very often. I play Trish who is a divorcee, and is dealing with life now as a single mother. I have a song called ‘Every Other Weekend’ about the emotional turmoil of having to share the kids with your estranged husband, and it’s a humbling experience to hear people react to the song as if I’m telling their story. I am singing about their very real, day to day feelings, and that is a huge responsibility.
Will blokes enjoy it?
I think so! In fact, I recommend they go and see it to understand the secret inner workings of what it’s like to be a mother. It might teach them a thing or two!
Does your family tour with you?
My partner Rob is working on Annie, so unfortunately we will be apart for some time this year while we both tour. My daughter Lil, and my mum (who cares for her while I’m performing) do travel with me for sections of the schedule where it’s possible.
This tour has a lot of travelling here and there, just for one show, then driving onto the next town. Unfortunately for those times, there is just too much travel for a young child to handle. Luckily there are times where we will be in a city for a week or longer, and Lil and mum will be able to join me. It’s hard enough to juggle motherhood and career, but when your job requires you to travel a lot, it’s even harder. Many times I’ve doubted whether I’m doing the right thing by leaving her for a few weeks at a time, or making her traipse around the countryside with me. Luckily, my daughter is a bit of a go getter. She has a huge personality and she takes to travelling like a duck to water. She loves meeting new people and seeing new places which is a huge relief. We’re lucky that she loves it so much. Seeing she has 2 theatre parents, it’s a lifestyle she will have to get used to unfortunately!
By coincidence, Lil is able to join me for her 2nd birthday in July, and her birthday happens to fall on our day off, in Byron Bay. Not many 2 years olds can say they celebrated their birthday while touring through Byron!
Motherhood The Musical will be playing at the Seymour Centre Sydney from Thursday 19 July.