Motherhood Out Loud

Last Updated by Samantha Dlugosh on
Rae Morlan, Rachel Winter and Sonja Miles
Lori Walsh

The unpredictable ups and downs of motherhood, offered with a splash of laughter, tears, and maybe a little wine.

Sonja Niles, LaRae Morlan and Rachel Winters join us in SDPB's studio at the University of Sioux Falls to talk about Motherhood Out Loud, a sketch-comedy benefit for the Sioux Empire Community Theater. This conversation has been edited for web use, to listen to it in its entirety click here. 

Lori Walsh:                 

Welcome back to In The Moment. I'm Lori Walsh. The unpredictable ups and downs of motherhood offered with a splash of laughter, tears, and maybe a little wine. Sonya Niles, LaRae Morlan, and Rachel Winters are with me in SDPB Studio, at the University of Sioux Falls. We're talking about Motherhood Out Loud. It's a sketch comedy benefit for the Sioux Empire Community Theater. It's Saturday, May 12th. Doors open at six. It's at the Orpheum, in the Black Box Theater, in Sioux Falls. Sonya, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Sonya Niles:                         

Thank you.

Lori Walsh:                      

Alright, tell me ... Let's start with you and tell me a little bit about this program.

Sonya Niles:                         

Well, we are doing a show called Motherhood Out Loud, as a benefit for Sioux Empire Community Theater. As the pop-up theater company. So, last fall we started talking about maybe starting up something to do our own show. The three of us had been involved with the show at the community theater last year and wanted to do something together. So, oddly enough you can't do a show just as Sonya Niles, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. So, we had to form a theater company and LaRae is terrific about helping with that kind of stuff. She has a lot of great experience and so she helped start this theater company with us and we have a cast of four women and one man, and we go through all the trials and tribulations, the laughter, the craziness, even some of the really low times of being a parent, and so it's kind of an up and down ride on motherhood.

Lori Walsh:                   

Okay so Mother's Day is Sunday. This is your public service announcement. Go get your card now. We're doing this on Tuesday so you've got time.  If you do it on Friday, it's too late. You gotta get that thing in the mail. Right? Then you can go see this show on Saturday as well. LaRae tell me a little bit about the idea of, hey what do you know let's start our own theater company.

LaRae Morlan:                           

Well, Sonya's a rather convincing soul. I don't know if you know that about her? She'll call and say let's do this, and her enthusiasm, and passion for this is just amazing and very contagious. So, she brought me along beside her and we got this theater company set up and it is a...as the name is pop-up. We can do this show anywhere. The sets are minimal. The technology is minimal. We can take this show on the road and do it anywhere. So...we started pop-up and off we go.

Lori Walsh:                  

Rachel how did you get involved?

Rachel Winters:                

I stage managed a show that LaRae and Sonya were working on last year and I said I want to be on stage with you two. So, they said lets do it, and here we are.

Lori Walsh:                 

This is something that we talk a lot about in South Dakota with businesses and entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, and I'm always saying we're the artists who are starting their own thing and how are we encouraging artists to stay in South Dakota and to innovate right here. This is pretty much all just you guys deciding to do it and doing it or are you getting any support from you know state government or industry or is anybody helping you out or is it just you guys?

Sonya Niles:                         

Oh, goodness gracious no. We are very very independent, but you know there are other smaller theater companies in Sioux Falls too that have started up and I think it's encouraging that every time somebody does something like that, because they all have their own little vision and ours with LaRae and I being a little bit more skewed toward middle-age we have some ideas about how we can keep this thing going with minimal time commitment and minimal effort but a lot of creativity and enthusiasm.

Lori Walsh:                     

Alright, why motherhood?  Why? LaRae, we'll start with you. Why is it important to sort of celebrate and skewer the role of mothers and what we sort of go through?

LaRae Morlan:                           

Well, it's so I come to this table as a step-mom.  So, my version of motherhood is very different than Rachel's whose had several children. So, my experiences are very different from her experiences, and that's what I think we all bring to the table. Is our lives have been so different in dealing with motherhood and our own mothers and raising daughters and how do we do that, and what's right, and what's wrong, and this show kind of looks at all of it. From giving child birth, to finding a surrogate, to adoption, to being a step-parent, to how do you have the talk with your kids, and graduation what does that look like, and oh my gosh college and we've got college now, and then all of a sudden you see your mom failing a little bit, and how do you deal with that as a daughter or a son. So, this show runs the gamut of emotions. It' done with a lot of humor. It's done with a lot of finesse and pizazz and it's all the feels.

Sonya Niles:                         

And nobody laughs at themselves better than women do right. We all have really good senses of humor. Otherwise we'd be cooked.

Rachel Winters:                

And mother-in-law. That's another thing...

Sonya Niles:                         

Yeah we touch on that.

Lori Walsh:                    

Sonya you're a mother-in-law right?

Sonya Niles:                         

Yeah

Lori Walsh:

...ask good mother-in-lawly stuff?

Sonya Niles:                         

...yeah, absolutely. You know I came to be a mother-in-law kind of a step mother-in-law as well and so I didn't ever have children of my own but have had a couple of adult daughters as step-daughters and it's a lot of fun watching them parent...and then I have a sister that has girls and to be kind of a surrogate grandmother to them as an older sister to this girl, my sister and so I love everything about motherhood. Just didn't ever have them myself. I was a nanny in New York though.

Lori Walsh:                  

I know another avenue to sort of look at motherhood. Is through that lens. I bet you got some stories there?

Sonya Niles:                         

Oh it was a wonderful experience. It really was.

Lori Walsh:                    

Rachel, you have kids?

Rachel Winters:                

I have three yes...

Lori Walsh:                 

What is it like to sort of be in this theater company and then you know be on stage sort of figuring out motherhood? You know from an artistic perspective and then also to go home and sort of be in the midst of it at the same time?

Rachel Winters:                

It's you know it's a challenge, because my husband goes from having dinner on the table at 5:00 to, “Oh can you please heat this up for everybody.” So, it's a juggle but our oldest son is super involved in theater as well, so we kind of have you know been in this process for a long time. With getting him to rehearsals and running lines at night and all that. So, it's a blast.

Lori Walsh:                    

Sketch comedy? For this kind of tell me the format? Like how fast does it move, LaRae? The show itself.

LaRae Morlan:                         

Each one of the scenes or monologues is written by a different person. So, you're dealing with fourteen or fifteen different writing styles and we start with childbirth and end with reliving that childbirth later at the end of life. So, it's just very interesting and very fast moving.

Lori Walsh:                  

What did you learn through the process of just reading the work, reading the scripts, and kind of living it out in rehearsals? What have you sort of...

LaRae Morlan:                   

The things you just read the first time are pretty surfacey, when you're reading through it. Wasn't that funny and then you start reading it and going man, this happens...a lot. So, it's getting into it, but still finding the humor in it. Which, it's been an interesting ride.

Sonya Niles:                         

We did have some men at our first shows, that we did of this and they really appreciated it to. So, we kind of think that maybe it's a good vehicle for Father's Day and show fathers what it's like to be a mother, because they do see it but there's a lot of parenting that is involved with this play. It's not just about being a mother, it's parenting and how you relate to mothers.

Lori Walsh:                   

You spent a life time in theater, as a fan and on-stage, behind the scenes. What does it bring to a community like Sioux Falls or other communities in South Dakota? To sort of have different companies, different interpretations, different shows happening everywhere? What are your thoughts?

Sonya Niles:                         

Well I think that the arts are a great equalizer. That you don't have to be a really successful business person to be a great person on stage and that you meet a lot of different people and for me I came to Sioux Falls thirty five some years ago and my first activities were with the community theater and I just really became engrossed in it. That became my community. That's why we wanted to do this show is to give something back to community theater. We were ready to do it because we had just had a short run and they needed some kind of a fundraising event and so we're doing it with some panache. We're going to have a silent auction. We're going to get people in there to see a show and then spend some money on some great things. LaRae brought a list of the things that we have on the silent auction. If we have a little time to cover some of that  because shopping can be very important to people. I don't know. I used to poo-poo those silent auctions until I thought, but it's an opportunity to shop.

Lori Walsh:                      

It's getting more exciting by the moment. Rachel you graduated from high school in Sioux Falls. Are you originally from Sioux Falls? Were you born here?

Rachel Winters:                

Yep, I was.

Lori Walsh:                     

Why do you stay?

Rachel Winters:                

Because of my husband. We're doing a whole project on Thursday about South Dakota the next generation, and those efforts the state makes to keep the best and brightest in the state. To keep everyone engaged and have something to do.

Lori Walsh:                   

So I'm wondering if you graduated from here, what makes you want to stay in the community? What makes it a home?

Rachel Winters:                

You know Sioux Falls is growing and it's so much fun to get to see things like pop-up theater companies, starting to come to life and you know there's so many...I'm very artistic so to be able to explore different venues and to do the sculpture walk downtown, and go to the pavilion and see amazing shows. Go to the Orpheum and see shows that are put on by people that live here, which is crazy that we have all these great venues for people to go to. So, really that keeps me here and it's safe, and it's comfortable, and Sioux Falls it's a really great place.

LaRae Morlan:                           

There's just something about it. We kind of joke at work that it's the best unkept secret in the country but it is. There's just a feel about Sioux Falls that is unlike any other place I've lived.

Lori Walsh:                 

Final thoughts on the show? Sonya want to make sure people know about, come down to support Sioux Fall Community Empire theater go, whatever community you're in go support the theater and the arts that are happening in your community.Sonya Niles, LaRae Morlan, and Rachel Winters thank you so much for being here with us today. We appreciate your time.

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