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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



One-woman show focuses on challenges of raising a trans child
by Sarah Katherine Bowden

This article shared 1163 times since Wed Aug 29, 2018
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Megan Wells has dedicated the last 25 years of her life to storytelling and solo performance. She believes that granting extended time and space to solo performers will help them deepen their stories and connect audiences to previously underrepresented narratives. To that end, Wells and Scott Jones have organized the Power of One, a solo performance series that opens at the Oak Park venue's studio space on August 31. The series begins with Big Giant Love, written and performed by Maureen Muldoon.

Big Giant Love portrays what Wells characterizes as an "exploded moment" for Muldoon. The show follows Muldoon as her child announces that they are transitioning to a new gender identity. "Once she comes across her child's decision," Wells said, "the moment explodes for her. She must look at what she thinks, what she feels, how to embrace it, how to explore the community, how to deal with the whole protective parent thing."

Wells and Jones—who are, respectively, Madison Street Theatre's artistic and managing directors—chose to open the series with Big Giant Love because it asks questions they believe everyone should be exploring. "We wanted to make a dent in social circumstances in our area," Jones said. "How a mom handles her child transitioning is a big deal."

Wells has been developing the show with Muldoon for a year. "It's vulnerable, it's funny, it's smart. She sings. It's the kind of voice we need around these issues," Wells said. "When we look back on the belief that there are only certain ways to define gender, I hope that we end up twenty years from now saying, 'How insane was that?'"

The Power of One series aims to give a diverse set of solo performers a platform to voice their experience of greater social issues. The three subsequent shows will spotlight veterans, one woman's experience of a rally led by Martin Luther King, Jr., and an examination of biodiversity performed by Wells herself.

"Solo performance is this amazing blend of theatre, storytelling, and improv," Wells said. Madison Street's black box space, she added, will fuel intimacy, empathy and growth between audience and artist.

Jones finds the studio provides an opportunity to explore the dramatic dimensions of each story told. "For Maureen's show, we have a very simple living room setting," he said, "( T )hat adds a nice theatrical element that you don't always have in solo spaces."

"I think the biggest question in Big Giant Love is, 'What in my own life is in my way of a bigger, more giant love?'" Wells said. "What's really vulnerable is that this is a young person moving into a different understanding of gender.

"That's a very big question we're all holding right now. What is too young to know? Maybe there's never too young to know. And yet there is too young to know because we try on a lot of different identities in our adolescent years. How do we love our adolescents through exploration all the way up through to a declaration?"

Wells sees the series' longer performance runs as a learning process for the artists, noting, "We want this to be a place to grow. Not too many spaces run shows for four weekends. A show grows on its feet in front of audiences."

She and Jones hope to continue the series next season, adding even more diverse voices to the line-up over time. "We hope we'll be the place where you grow your show."

Wells explained that they wanted to be on "the social edge" in showcasing shows like Big Giant Love.

"Maybe these stories can help you," she said. "They can show you you're not alone. They can lift you up."

The Power of One runs Aug. 31—Sept. 23 at the Madison Street Theatre, 1010 W. Madison St. Tickets are $15; visit .

This article shared 1163 times since Wed Aug 29, 2018
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