Jane of All Trades — An Interview with Jane Press

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By Natasha Lewin

Playwright Jane’s Grandma Ida and her mother, “The Big Bubie.”

Playwright Jane’s Grandma Ida and her mother, “The Big Bubie.”

Having been a performer since 1962, actress, mother, grandmother, and now playwright Jane Press has written My Mother’s Keeper to break the confines of older women in stage roles. “Too often, depictions of our mothers and grandmothers are portrayed — if at all — through trivialized stereotypes and caricatures. Just when actresses have a lifetime of experience honing their craft to contribute, they are all too often rendered invisible, tricked out to act younger, or relegated roles of old, old. I wanted to address this by writing seven wonderful roles for women in their 50s and late 60s.”

Furthermore, the play was written with specific production dates in mind. My Mother’s Keeper was designed to be produced every Mother’s Day. It debuted at the Carl Cherry Theater in Carmel, CA on Mother’s Day of 2012, playing a five-week run to packed houses. At the debut, Jane’s daughter sat next to her 82-year-old mother. Three days later her daughter gave birth to her first child. Jane says, “MMK is completely autobiographical, though some of the names have been changed slightly to protect the guilty.”

Jane is also an acting instructor. She teaches children, ages 5-12, “The Art of Playing the Part of Being a Human Being” at the Community Partnership for Youth.

My Mother’s Keeper opens Mother’s Day, May 12. It’s playing at the Electric Lodge Theater in Venice, ending Father’s Day, June 16. Next year MMK will open in New York.

For more information or for tickets, go to: electriclodge.org.

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