American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
HOW TO HOLD IT TOGETHER
There are some topics that can be tough to explore with humor and grace. Mala is here to change that. She is doing her best to be the dutiful daughter, while guiding her fierce mother along her final path. But their journey is exquisitely moving, and surprisingly funny – every step combining the devastating with the darkly hilarious. After all, what’s left but to laugh when you think of what’s expected of us in these moments? How do we give so much of ourselves to someone else, and continue to be ourselves? A gorgeous, flowing series of vignettes; epic and intimate, like all the best plays. Like life itself. Told by one extraordinary actor, Nancy Rodriguez – just the soul to give this story its heart. Runs August 12 - October 5
Mala is doing her very best to be a dutiful child without losing her cool (or her mind), while caring for her stubborn, aging mother. Her story offers a heartfelt exploration of the maddening, devastating and darkly hilarious events that surround caring for a parent heading toward the end of life. As Mala shares her own experiences, and the experiences of her friends in similar situations, she bounds between comedy and deeply poignant emotion, creating an event custom-made for anyone who's struggled to be perfectly patient with someone they love. A tour-de-force featuring the extraordinary talents of Nancy Rodriguez.
APT's honest, moving 'Mala' takes good care by Lindsay Christians, The Cap Times | August 21, 2023
I first encountered Mala when I went to see a production of it in Seattle shortly after my mother had been released from the hospital following a stroke. I was in too much of a fugue state to have researched the play in advance, but it was as if the universe had placed me exactly where I needed to be at that moment in my life: rarely has a piece of theater spoken so directly to my immediate life experience. And so, when the opportunity arose for me to direct Mala at APT, my immediate thought was ‘This is a story I need to tell.’
Beyond a personal connection to my life, the play also hits all my sweet spots as a theater maker: a story that is told through poetic language, that doesn’t travel in a straight line, and that engages an audience in a way that fully embraces the ‘liveness’ of live theater. It is also a solo piece that relies on the power of the spoken word: it requires the artistry and emotional courage of singular kind of performer, and I am grateful and fortunate to be working with the fearless, singular actor, Nancy Rodriguez.
Uncompromisingly honest and brutally funny, Mala captures the chaos of caregiving, the way we careen instantaneously from devastation to laughter, from despair to joy, from the mundane to the existential. It has made me think more deeply about family, how we care for each other, what we owe each other; what it means to be ‘good’ as a person or to ‘do the right thing.’ By sharing her ungraceful process of caring for her dying parent, playwright Melinda Lopez gives us the generous gift of grace for ourselves. Working on the play, I’ve experienced moments of deep recognition, of realizing, yes, I have reacted exactly like that. I have failed exactly like that… Phew... I am not alone. And in that feeling of communion that I have with Mala, I find hope – that between the polars of good and bad, of right and wrong, there is space that is unfailingly human, full of flaws and full of humor, where we can recognize ourselves and our own unspoken truths.
- Rosa Joshi, Director of Mala