AN Australian-born comedy about motherhood will return to the stage this month.
Whatever Gets You Through The Night (WGYTTN) features three very different young women battling with pregnancy and the post-birth struggles of a newborn, their husbands, and work life.
Following a successful preview performance in October last year, Muswellbrook Amateur Theatrical Society (MATS) will produce the play for its premier season.
It all began when WGYTTN author Nicky Peelgrane wondered why no one was talking about what motherhood was truly like.
“The story was inspired by the journeys of my friends and I when we were having babies,” she said.
“I started writing this play a long time ago as a way of expressing the shock I experienced at becoming a mother.
“The play development last October was a complete joy from the first day of rehearsals.”
Actress Rayna Russo said it was satisfying making the audience laugh.
“The play itself is so worthy of a production,” she said.
Fellow performer Cecilia Connell said her character, Fern, was a “tragic example of a mother on the edge”.
“With idealistic hopes of pregnancy and motherhood, these quickly unravel as she discovers the harsh realities of life as a mum, [while] struggling with post-natal depression,” she said.
“Having the opportunity to work directly with the playwright was an invaluable experience.
“Gauging the preview audience responses has enabled us to fine tune elements and create a piece that will hopefully resonate with many people on a very meaningful level.
“One of the things I love most about acting is having the chance to embrace new and often disparate characters, and explore their inner thoughts and motivations.
“I think it helps shed light on what it means to be human, interacting in a fast-paced society, where so often there’s little time to reflect on the crux of what makes us really tick.”
It is early days, but the next step for the play is publication.
One of the performances will be recorded, and the video sent, along with the script, to a publisher.
MATS’ Larnie Christie cast the show before Ms Peelgrane arrived on set.
And, she couldn’t have been happier with the choices.
“I have to say that she was spot on,” she said.
“From the first rehearsal, the actors were unanimous in their support of the play and said they wanted to do a proper production.
“This was a huge shot in the arm for me - this play is extremely personal and I felt unsure of its future.
“I was gobsmacked by the level of talent, commitment and generosity – not just of the actors, but of the entire MATS community.
“You have something really rare and wonderful in your town.”
Ms Peelgrane said they knew they were onto something special when they received a standing ovation, and decided to see the play through to a proper production.
While she loved performing, the author said playwriting was a whole new dimension.
“To engage in the truly collaborative nature of theatre – seeing the words I wrote spoken by talented actors who interpret these words in a way I never expected, seeing the story resonate with an audience and having them laugh and fall in love with the characters and their shortcomings – well that is truly a thing of beauty,” she said.
“Never underestimate the talent and commitment in a small mining town.
“Easily up there with some of the best professional companies I have worked with over the years.”
WGYTTN will be at the Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music, at 7pm, on Tuesday, March 28, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1.
The play contains some coarse language and adult themes; recommended for mature audiences only.
For more information, visit www.mats.org.au