It is a production so engrossing that when it ends, you find yourself asking, “Then what happens?”
This is not to say that this insightful one man production, Mr. Parent is incomplete by any means, but the essence of this thought can be found in Maurice Emmanuel Parent‘s charismatic and absorbing storytelling. This autobiographical and semi-interactive recollection of a life-changing period in Parent’s compelling history features amusing and captivating characters that will keep you invested in his journey, eager to find out what is next.
Seamlessly directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Lyric Stage Company continues the timely production Mr. Parent by Melinda Lopez through February 6 at Lyric Stage Company in Boston, Massachusetts. It will also be available for streaming from February 7 through February 20. This show runs 90 minutes with no intermission. Click here for more information and for tickets.
Within a colorful and empty classroom by Cristina Todesco, the aptly-named Mr. Parent manages to cover a great deal in its limited time frame from the state education system to struggling families to struggling teachers to desegregation during a pivotal time in Mr. Parent’s life approached with the kind of heart and humor that comes from experience. Inspirational, educational, and complex, Mr. Parent also begs a significant question that many people face every day: How do I pursue my passion while still making a decent living?
Working in the arts, this quest is close to my heart. In order to do what one loves, one may have to supplement that journey with additional job or jobs to make it all work. It is a journey of sacrifice, more than likely a lack of sleep, and an overwhelming desire towards that dream goal, however means it may take to get there. For some, taking this avenue may create another dream realized.
Maurice Immanuel Parent as himself is a struggling actor hoping to find success, but quickly realizes that doing so requires supplemental income. He finds it in the form of teaching. Having seen him perform as Cardinal Richelieu in Greater Boston Stage Company and Front Porch Arts Collective’s The Three Musketeers, Parent has a wealth of talent. He is a charismatic presence onstage and it is easy to see the drive and heart he puts into his work. Here, Maurice Emmanuel Parent’s personal account reflects that talent in spades.
It has as much heart as adventure from hyena auditions to a sneaky hoodie to recollections of shows he encourages his parents not to see, Parent recounts the unsettled and unpredictable life of teaching and acting which includes plenty of realizations along the way with bite, humor, and in times of distress, unmitigated honesty. For example, in two particularly moving moments, Mr. Parent describes in anguish what it is like to see his bright students from low income families struggle for their basic needs and enduring the scare of a lockdown. He navigates scenario after scenario invoking an intensity and desperation to succeed in a job that he hopes will meet his needs, but wondering if he may be in over his head. Seemingly sterling opportunities almost always have its challenges and Mr. Parent shows that we all have much to learn.
Lyric Stage Company continues Mr. Parent through February 6 live and in person at Lyric Stage Company in Boston, Massachusetts. Click here for more information and for tickets.