MOMMALOGUES, written by long-time friends Sharon Lee Glassman and Gretchen Klinedinst Furst and directed by William Sanders, is playing at TBG Theatre (312 West 36th Street) in Manhattan. It explores the relationship between mothers and daughters, as four actresses of varied ages deliver monologues reflecting a wide range of experiences of mothering.

The twenty-two monologues that make up the play take the audience on a journey from the start of motherhood through all many phases, exploring the relationships between mothers, daughters and other female role models including teachers, grandmothers and aunts.

Mommalogues, while well-intended, comes across as a bad Hallmark card brought to the stage.

 There are some poignant and funny moments, but it’s often sappy and packed with cliches and largely on the downbeat side….featuring too many long-winded stories and memories focusing on topics like assisted living, cancer or the passing of loved ones. It’s billed as a “celebration,” but tribute or eulogy is more the word for some of the material.

The monologues at times endeavor to empower, for example, the opening talk from a new mom who feels she looks like a “blob” some days, but is a “goddess” in the inside…but it was drawn out and lacked originality.  Other monologues addressed things like smoking pot, living up to a mother’s expectations, passing on tradition through the generations, puberty, and being the daughter of a rock superstar. The material lacked any sense of flow/sequence, and the show generally overstayed its welcome.

The actresses never change their attire, and the set (or lack there of …except for flowing curtains) offers nothing to engage the eye.  The cast features Claire Duncan, Elizabeth Stahlmann, Lisa Riegel and Sheila Stasack.  Of the four, Duncan, the youngest of the actresses,  delivers the most watchable performances.  In one monologue, she sings a bit, and you yearn for her to burst fully into song.  Would have been a breath of fresh air….but not enough to make you want more of Mommalogues.

Gretchen Klinedinst Furst and Sharon Lee Glassman, co-authors of 'Mommalogues.

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