“I’m not like them,” insists Eva (Nancy Nagrant), the heroine of a new play, Class Mother, at the Hudson Guild Theater in Lower Manhattan. Eva is a stay-at-home mom and blogger whose daughter just started 3rd grade in a new school. Eva doesn’t want to tell her fellow moms, especially the over-sharing class mother, Cindy (Nina Covalesky) or her husband, Derek (Ryan Lee), about her blog because, as she firmly shuts down her own husband, Dave (Carson Lee), “It’s not for them.”
Eva judges Cindy and Derek for having an apartment on Central Park West. She thinks Cindy is as “fake and phony as a Barbie doll” with her “limo full of (four) kids,” while investment banker Derek is dismissed as merely “a type.” But that’s OK, because once Cindy finds Eva’s blog, The Feminist Family, she concludes about Eva and Dave, “There is something about that family that’s so off,” and decides that she now knows everything there is to know about Eva because, “I read your blog.”
The main conflict of the hour and a half show stems from a play-date Eva’s daughter, Caroline, has with Cindy’s daughter, Francesca. One of the girls shows the other something on the Internet that may or may not have been obscene. It’s either a naked boy band with their hands covering their genitals, or pornography. It depends on whom you ask.
Cindy decides to get hysterical about it, even notifying the school principal. “I have to protect the rest of the kids. I am the Class Mother!” Eva retaliates by writing a blog post about “class, power and intimidation” and class mothers who “without judge or jury decide I’m a deviant.” Eva is “sick and tired of the class mothers of the world telling other people how to raise their children.” The blog post goes viral and earns Eva the book deal she’s been coveting since starting The Feminist Family.
Cindy and Derek, however, don’t take the perceived (albeit anonymous) insult sitting down. They threaten a lawsuit and to call Child Protective Services on Eva and Dave. In Cindy and Derek’s defense, just because you don’t use someone’s name doesn’t mean the reading public can’t figure out whom you’re talking about. All Eva has to do is say what school and grade her daughter is in, and the mysterious “class mother” becomes rather obvious. In the same way as, despite Class Mother calling its fictional school PS 92, the insinuation – between the Central Park West apartment, wealthy parents who send their child to the local public school – “With some of the best test scores in the city!” – after being shut out of private school, then fund-raising over a million dollars to buy every child an iPad (“That’s love!”) – pretty much points the finger at the highly ranked PS 87, where old school, more bohemian Upper West Siders scoff at the new money among them – but are happy to take advantage of the donations that come with it.
So both sides are equally judgmental, though the show does side more with Eva and Dave, who are seen as less culpable in the quickly escalating arms-race.
Yet the most thought-provoking moment in the show comes when Eva’s husband accuses, “You use people as fodder for your blog.”
In this day and age of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat, doesn’t everyone?
The question is: Should they? And, more importantly what kind of example is that setting for the children whom all the above concerned adults are allegedly protecting?
NYC parents – class mothers and others – are in luck! Due to its making the finals of the Venus/Adonis Theater Festival 2016, class will be in session for one extra day following the initial 3-day run, with a bonus performance of Class Mother on Tuesday, March 8 at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $18 and available at the door of the Hudson Guild Theater.
Don’t risk being marked absent!