Playwright/actress Teresa L. Thome definitely has some “mommy issues” which she airs vibrantly in her one-woman Hollywood Fringe Festival show Warm Cheese. She characterizes her mother as a “mildly neurotic control freak” who was incapable of showing much love, affection or support to her husband and four children. Her mother Imelda was a nurse in Michigan and an over achiever—her death certificate listed five causes for her death. When she was diagnosed with liver disease, she made sure everyone knew she did not want to be resuscitated by leaving NRA’s everyplace–in birthday cards, in a book of Norman Rockwell drawings, etc. Thome vents her impassioned feelings about her prickly relationship with her mother in her show, saving years of psychoanalysis. On trips to the mall when she would ask to have an ice cream cone like the other children, her mother would offer her a slice of wrapped American cheese that she always carried in her purse. Ice cream vs. warm cheese. The reminiscences are funny at times, touching at others. After her mother’s death she finds some journals in which her mother expressed feelings she never did verbally. Thome also found a scrapbook from her mother’s 1953 stay in Los Angeles, where she fell in love but also had her dreams broken, returning to Michigan and ending up in a loveless marriage. Stan Zimmerman’s direction allows Thome the freedom to move about the tiny playing space and to vary the action with the use of the minimal props. I’m sure most people have some issues with their parents. Thome’s show explores some of those issues and comes to grips with accepting and overcoming them.
Asylum @ Studio C, 6448 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. June 18 & 26. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3781