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Review: Mother of Him, at Park Theatre

Based on a true story, riveting production examines a dilemma of motherhood

03 October, 2019 — By Sipora Levy

Tracy-Ann Oberman in Mother of Him. Photo: Bronwen Sharp

TRACY-ANN Oberman plays Brenda Kapowitz, a highly stressed single mother of two sons.

The eldest, Matthew (Scott Folan) is 15 and under house arrest for multiple rape, and Jason (Hari Aggarwal) is a demanding eight-year-old.

The action is confined to two rooms in the Kapowitz household: a grey prison-like set, designed by Lee Newby, emphasising their claustrophobic situation.

It is Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights in December, late 90s Toronto and reporters are at their door.

Based on a true story, dramatist Evan Placey has decided to focus on the mother of the accused, rather than the perpetrator. Through Brenda, he examines the dilemma of motherhood for women wanting to pursue a career combined with bringing up children; in this case under harrowing circumstances.

Matthew’s lawyer, Robert Rosenberg (Simon Hepworth), also a family friend, is keen for Brenda to present herself in the best possible light and suggests she tones down her appearance and behaviour to appear more sympathetic to the public. But Brenda is having none of it to begin with.

Oberman takes full advantage of the role, in a nuanced performance that conveys Brenda’s strength and rage, as well as her vulnerability, confusion and defensiveness.

At the end of act one she faces the barrage of reporters at her door in a shocking stand-off. When the boys’ father, Steven (Neil Sheffield) appears, belatedly, to offer help she at first rejects him, as she does her cleaner Tess (Anjelica Serra, doubling as Matthew’s girlfriend Jessica).

A chance meeting with the mother of one of the victims forces her to re-examine and soften her stance. A riveting evening – challenging and poignant.

Until October 26
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