Review: A Portrait of My Mother (online)

Written and performed by Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, A Portrait of My Mother is a personal story of the life of a woman whose early life reads like the story of many children fostered into uncaring families.

As he paints a portrait in both words and on a canvas (the results remain unseen until the last moment) a portrait of Maria unfolds. A tough and uncompromising upbringing leads to a somewhat bohemian life in which Carlos and his siblings thrive.

Directed by veteran theatremaker David R Jarrott, this show is filmed by multiple cameras in one location, in a single take. Garcia is a warm raconteur, surely influenced by the presenting style of Bob Ross (of Joy of Painting fame, watched by the boys on CBS).

Production image from A Portrait of My Mother

From Mexico to Chicago, this Cinderella tale starts with a young girl scrubbing the floor and sleeping in the kitchen, yet she escapes into a United States which offers her freedom. A USA which has so recently vowed to keep out migrants behind a wall, to block them from the ‘American Dream’.

The result of this solo show could be oversentimental, but in Jarrott and Garcia’s hands, this isn’t the case. In presenting this show in one place, and having the performer recount his mother’s story while his attention is also on his artwork, it feels more like a chat.

This is a universal piece for everyone who has a mother or parent; that is every one of us, whatever form that relationship takes. It is about one woman’s story, but it could be the story of any of us. All our family stories are fascinating, and it is to Garcia’s credit that, alone on the virtual stage, he is able to make his interesting to an uninvolved viewer.

A Portrait of My Mother is available to stream until 31 July: book tickets at $10 here.

Image credits: Arturo Mandalay.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review A Portrait of My Mother.