What do shields, bowties, and rabbits have in common? Apparently, they share a common “mother”, as the new play Mater Facit revealed at the 2013 Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
"Mater Facit", written by Peter York, Jon Ferguson, and John Heimbuch, portrays a son going off to war as his “mother,” or his three mothers in this case, wait for his return, each coping with the pain of longing and loss as a mother would do in three different time periods. A Spartan woman, a German fraulein, and a modern American mother all rejoice in the bravery of their shared son and grieve his loss once he has sacrificed himself for the good of his country. The few rough patches in this brand new production still seemed to match the vibe of a new work in progress.
Kevin Macku portrays the “son,” displaying with carefree ease the eagerness of a young man headed off to war, and also the burning desire of a boy wanting to make his mother proud. Macku’s natural lightheartedness and seamless ability to shift between time periods and personas when addressing his “mothers” made his character of the universal son easily likeable, causing the audience to mourn with his mothers once he perished.
Jodie Linver, Willemien Patterson, and Anna Carroll Horton represented the three mothers at different times in history. Once Linver had established her aggressive Ancient Spartan nature, her passion and dedication to the war and her son created both a heartbreaking and terrifying scene once she learned of her beloved young son’s death. Patterson, though also portraying strange supporting characters such as the “Fury” Hitler, showed a mother’s quiet concern and tenderness when sending her son out of her care, evolving into angst and dread as he moves into the range of fire. Horton’s interpretation of a bright-eyed and zealous German mother during World War II, excited to help the Fatherland, provided satirical and comical characterization that made the ironical rabbit theme poignant.
The musicians, Nathan Singer on guitar and Erin Proctor on bass, provided superb accompaniment to the story. They contributed sound effects and musical supplements which helped drive the plot of the story, making the show’s message even more thought provoking.
Clocking in at only 50 minutes, the wit and profundity of Mater Facit charmed its audience with its simple yet universal story. Though we may be far from the mother who has loved us, we all find comfort in her ability to say of us, “He’s a hero now.”
By: Lindsey Gwen Franxman