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Theater embraces ‘the change’

It’s been called the ‘M’ word, the ‘change’ and simply ‘It.’ But it is menopause, the stage of life celebrated with laughs in the national hit theater performance ‘Menopause, The Musical.’ The comedy will end its tour Sunday, April 14 at Lodi’s Hutchins Street Square.

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Margot Moreland

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 7:37 am

Margot Moreland has stood in front of glowing stage lights countless times in her acting career, but not every role has been as fun as the one she plays in “Menopause, The Musical,” coming to Hutchins Street Square on Sunday for a one-night event.

Here, she shares about the show, the stage in life that no one likes to talk about and what it’s like to travel around the country in a pink van with the hush-hush word “Menopause” written boldly on the side.

How do you describe the show to your friends?

It’s a show about four iconic women who meet in Bloomingdales in New York City during a lingerie sale. They find out that though they are four characters from four different backgrounds, they have involvement (through the menopause stage).

I play Earth Mother ... she’s very granola, very grounded. She is battling or trying to fight finding balance in her life, and dealing with the mood swings in menopause.

There’s a soap star dealing with the aging factor ... she thinks she’s being replaced as an actor.

There’s a woman professional — head CEO of her own company — and she’s fighting the mindslip, the forgetfulness.

There there is an Iowa housewife dealing with wanting to be more loved and (the issues surrounding) sexuality and stuff like that.

They all dealing with hot flashes.

It’s done in such a beautifully funny way. It takes songs from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

What response do you get from the audience after the show?

I get: “Oh my gosh! I’ve never laughed so hard!”

One man said, “I wish I would have seen this show four years ago because I probably wouldn’t have divorced my wife — I thought she was going crazy.” You hear stories and I think, “Oh my gosh, this can’t be true.” It’s really a funny and empowering show.

So men love the show, too?

They definitely do. I can attest to it.

If you look into the audience, you’ll see husband or boyfriends or sons. You see people elbowing the person next to them saying, “That’s you! You do that, too.” You’ll hear them. You forget that we hear you when we’re on stage.

There’s a moment in a cafe scene where my character can’t see the menu. There’s a whole bit that I do with the menu.

How did you get involved with the show?

(“Menopause”) had asked me through the years to join the cast when they got the rights to do the show. My work schedule never worked out with what they had available. (Eventually,) they had two shows that fell through ... .

I feel like menopause is such a hush-hush subject — as if it’s a secret. Do you think the musical has helped people feel more at-ease with it, or at least able to talk about it more openly?

Definitely. You have to understand that when the show first started 12 years ago, we didn’t have self-help books or the Internet. We didn’t have Oprah or Dr. Oz talking about everything. The only way you could hear anything about menopause was if your mother or grandmother (might discuss it). When (the writer) came up with this idea, she was dealing with a bunch of friends, who were all saying “Oh my God, you’re going through this, too.”

There was a sense of empowerment in the women: “Oh, I’m not alone. I’m not going crazy. There’s a reason why I’m getting this hot flash.” Through that — and the comedy and the laughter of the show — it makes it much more approachable to talk about.

You’ve probably heard all the terms for menopause. Any good ones?

“The change” ... . “The silent passage.” “The change” is the biggest one. “You’re going through ‘it.’”

Have you ever been to Lodi?

I’m actually looking forward to it. I hear it’s beautiful. We’re on our last leg, with stops in Modesto, Carmel, Chico, Livermore and then Lodi.

Either with “Menopause” or another show you’ve been in, what is your favorite city or theater you’ve performed in?

I can’t pinpoint a specific city, but it’s such a blessing to be able to do what you love doing and to be able to see the country that you live in. It’s an incredibly beautiful country. There’s so much to offer. I’ve been very blessed.

Do the women in the show get along in real life?

Yeah, luckily. That’s not always the case. Dealing with other women can sometime be ... difficult. This cast is a really wonderful cast.

How does the “Menopause” cast and crew get around?

From our home places we travel by plane, but within the tour, we travel in a little van. It’s painted “Menopause, The Musical,” so we can get looks and stares and pictures taken while we’re driving.

Did you study theater in college, or are you one of those lucky souls we fell into a wonderful opportunity?

I went to University of Miami for my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and to Florida State for my Master of Fine Arts in musical theater.

Have you ever entertained the idea of working in film?

I’ve done some film. I played Nick Noltes’ secretary in “Cape Fear.” (It was directed by) Martin Scorsese. It was incredible. He’s one of the sweetest men (and directors) that I have ever met. He was so nice to me on set.

I also played a teacher in the William H. Macy film, “Bart Got a Room.”

Think about your dream role. If you could play any character in any play, who would you want to play?

There are so many! My dream role, which I have luckily through my life done twice, is Mama Rose in “Gypsy.” It was such an incredible character. I hope I’ll have the chance to do it again.

How do you think women — and the men in their lives — can more easily embrace the change?

One thing I think they should do is come see the show. (You just have to realize) it’s just your body rebelling against what’s happening to it. Find the humor and bond with the humor.

Sometimes it can be very difficult in relationships, when one feels like they’re not being listened to. I listen to most of my traumas and problems in life with humor.

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