Happy Black Girl Day: A Review of “Running: AMOK”, A Musical Stage Play by Liberated Muse Productions
Last night, thanks to the generosity of my good friends Liz and Jamal, I had the opportunity to attend a performance of “Running: AMOK”, a musical stage play by Liberated Muse Productions.
The performance was held at The Corner Store Gallery, an art space on Capitol Hill here in DC. The play was written, directed and produced by Khadijah Ali-Coleman, a Black woman playwright, author and lyricist located in the DC area. Khadijah is co-founder of Liberated Muse Productions and the Capitol Hip-Hop Soul Festival. I can say with all honesty that going in with absolutely no prior knowledge of what this play was about I was absolutely blown away. This play tackles what I’ve always considered to be one the most controversial topics for Black women: when we admit that motherhood is hard and damn near drives us over the edge.
The cast includes :
Quiniece as “LaChelle”
Rayona L. Young (my VERY good girlfriend) as “Nina”
Nia Simmons as “Lyn” (Nina’s Cousin/Business Manager)
Deja Belle as “Camille”
Lyn Artope as “Benny” (Camille’s mom)
Colette Williams as “Mama Belle”
“Running: AMOK” tells the story of three creative women who find themselves pregnant in the middle of their careers and how each one deals with her new reality. The play opens with each of the women telling the people closest to them about their pregnancies. One woman, LaChelle, a singer and single, is ecstatic about her pending motherhood and wastes no time telling all her friends and family the good news. Camille, an author living at home with her parents, seems ambivalent but confident, much to her mother, Benny’s chagrin. Nina, a high-profile fashion designer, tells her cousin/manager Lyn that she plans on getting an abortion, but doesn’t go through with it.
The three women eventually meet in the waiting room of a psychiatrist, nine months post-partum. Motherhood is nothing what any of them imagined. LaChelle’s boyfriend left her right before her baby was born and she lost her singing gig, Camille’s writing contracts are drying up and Nina has no time to devout to her art, she’s overwhelmed by the demands of mothering AND her husband. Each of these women are their own overheated pots about to boil over and explode. The wise Mama Belle, an eccentric mother of 3 grown children, grandmother of one, singer, wife and business owner shows up and drops pearls of wisdom on the new moms in that waiting room that none of them expected to receive.
What impressed me the most about this play is each of these characters are like women all of us know and they actually talk about the realities of being a mother and still wanting to “be” at the same time. Too often, women are told that they must become some “Martyr of Motherhood” and die in spirit in order to raise a child successfully. We’re shamed by our family and community when we admit to not taking well to motherhood right away or even when we hit a wall and become frustrated and confused by our children. “Running: AMOK” adresses these points and more. As a mother and creative woman, I could relate to so much of what each of the characters was going through. It felt good to finally have these things said out in the open. And I must say that I was so glad that “Running: AMOK” showed these Black women seeking THERAPY!! Chasing wellness and happiness!
The play was funny, poignant, and emotional. It is extremely well-written and you definitely hear Khadijah telling her own very personal story as a mom and creative woman through the dialogue. The songs were great and the actors/singers were all amazing, across the board. I can definitely see this small community production growing and going above and beyond what anybody in the audience could realize. I am so glad I was able to attend such an awesome performance.
Liz, me & our friend Rayona, who played "Nina" in the play "Running: AMOK"