Theater performance helps single mothers find their own voice
The Czech family has changed in many ways in the past two decades, with new values and gender models entering the homes, and Communist-era mentality and standards partly waning. One growing phenomenon that few want to talk about is the increasing number of single mothers. Currently, about one in every five children in this country grows up with a single parent. And most of the around 200,000 single caretakers are women. Within the EU, the Czech Republic has one of the highest percentages of single mothers within its population.
The project was created as a cooperation between the civic association Tripitaka social action, Brno’s center for experimental theater and ten single mothers with no previous experience in theater. The result of six months of difficult creative work was the performance called Samodiva -theatrical blues for solo mothers. The ten women had a chance to learn about acting, attended creative writing workshops, meetings with therapists and job advisors, as well as being given a part-time salary throughout the half-year project.
I had a chance to speak to the director of the performance Janka Ryšánek Schmiedtová, who is currently in Ostrava, and asked her about how her creative team chose the mothers who would be involved in the project:
“They had been chosen based on a two-part interview, but not based on their acting experience. We were trying to find clients that want to make a change in their lives and clients whom we would be able to help.
“And thanks to this experience, we found out what our solo mothers have in common. For example, having to stay alone with the babies, problems with money, with family.”