L/A Arts presents one-woman comedy, The Passion of the Hausfrau, at the DownStage


LEWISTON — L/A Arts continues its DownStage Solo Series with the comedy theater production “The Passion of the Hausfrau” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, and Friday, April 16, a performance sponsored by Patrons Oxford Insurance Company. Portland artists Bess Welden (actor/writer) and Nicole Chaison (writer/cartoonist) adapted the stories, drawings and characters from Chaison’s popular Hausfrau Muthah-zine (www.thehausfrau.com) into a full-length evening of theater that made its world premier at Portland Stage Company in March 2009.

“The Passion of the Hausfrau” is a laugh-out-loud comedy about a mother who discovers that the roller coaster ride of raising young kids is actually the path to creating her own masterpiece. “The Passion of the Hausfrau” is the first hero’s journey (in the classic Joseph Campbell sense) from the point of view of the mother. Welden and Chaison wanted to show that “every mother is a hero: like James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’ ‘The Passion of the Hausfrau’ shows the heroism in daily life. In parenting, every day is a roller coaster of passion.”

The play follows the Hausfrau (which means “housewife” in German), her husband, two children and twenty other characters (all played by one actress) as she faces each challenge on The Road of Trials. Finally, like all heroes, she must plunge into the inferno and face her own demons in order to emerge victorious and ready to fulfill her creative self. Turning the classic hero myth on its head by making the central character a middle-aged mom, the play pokes fun at the mistakes parents make with an honest and irreverent humor. Over 100 original cartoon projections help tell the story and add an engaging visual layer that illuminates the text, much like a graphic novel.

The collaboration also includes an original score by Portland composer Hans Indigo Spencer and is directed by Emmy award-winner Annette Jolles. Bess Welden performs the 80-minute piece.

Random House’s Villard imprint released Chaison’s graphic novel, also called “The Passion of the Hausfrau,” in June 2009. Find out more about the novel online at www.passionofthehausfrau.com and about the play at www.thehausfrauplay.com.

The Downstage is located at 5 Canal Street Alley. Tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door and can be ordered by calling 207-782-7228 or online at www.laarts.org.