“Write what you know” –Mark Twain
And then, there is Noah Diaz, who began writing “The Motherhood Almanac” precisely because it was something he knew little about. “It started as mental exercises, acting exercises. I wanted to slip into someone else’s persona, someone else’s voice.” Once he started writing, he could not stop. “Everyone has a mother, but everyone’s experience with their mother is completely unique.” He pieced the vignettes together into a script, submitted it to the Shelterbelt, and landed a staged reading.
Diaz first burst onto the community theater scene in the 2009 production of “Speech & Debate” at SNAP Productions. In the ensuing seven years he has been a ubiquitous theater presence, winning TAG awards for his acting and directing as well as deep involvement on the Theatre Arts Guild board, as well as on theater boards and reading committees. While he had always written for himself, he first became interested in writing for the stage after directing. “I liked the autonomy and the artistic control,” he explains. “Plus I like that writing gives you a chance to fall on your face in a way you can’t do with acting.
The final script has come a long way from the “Before the Boards” reading. Diaz estimates he has revised about eighty percent of the play. Only three or so of the thirteen scenes are now monologues, and the scenes are more interrelated than in the original reading, making for a tighter, more seamless production. Moira Mangiameli directs a stellar cast, including Eli Ami, Erin Stoll, Jenna Briggs, Kathy Longe, Jill Walmer, Sue Mouttet, and Anna Jordan.
After an immersive experience on the subject, what are three things Diaz has learned about motherhood?
“Motherhood is about learning how to love someone other than yourself.”
“Loving your child and hating your child can sometimes be the same thing.”
“It’s okay to not be a mother.”
Proud mother Sharon Diaz no doubt concurs.
The Shelterbelt’s production of “The Motherhood Almanac,” written by Noah Diaz and directed by Moira Mangiameli, will run from January 27 through February 19. Curtain is 8 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Curtain on Sunday nights is 6 pm except for a closing Sunday matinee time of 2 pm. There will be a TAG Night Out on Thursday, January 26. The house opens thirty minutes before curtain. Tickets for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and TAG members. Thursday shows are only $12! They are available for purchase at: http://www.shelterbelt.org/#!shelterbelt-box-office/c1l4a, or by e-mailing them at email@example.com, or by calling the box office at (402) 341-2725. The Shelterbelt Theatre is located at 3225 California Street in Omaha.