During the tail-end of a New York winter, few things can bring people together as intensely as coffee. Well, perhaps having a baby. Molly Smith Metzler’s “Cry It Out” brings a lot to the wrought-iron patio table— new mothers with adjacent backyards bond over the struggles of adjusting to the new social norms of staying at home with an infant, and not having the time or energy to rival the lives of their carefree friends.
In suburban Long Island, the city of Port Washington is full of economic diversity: Manorhaven neighborhoood contains duplexes, both new and run-down, nestled under Sands Point’s multi-million-dollar mansions up the hill. Jessie, played by Olivia Joy Lehnertz (’19) is securely middle-class, but her in-laws have money to spare, which can tax her relationship with her husband. Lina, played by Madison Meeron (’21) is tighter on money, and both women have to grapple with the careers they have taken leave from. Class comes further into play as we meet Mitchell, played by Kelsey Davis (’21) and Adrienne played by Piper Arlington (’22), a double-income power couple that reside up the aforementioned bougie hill.
Adrienne’s passion is in her work more than her daughter, and with the means to pay nannies, she is almost immediately back in her studio. Mitchell worries about her disconnect from her child and turns to the neighbors to ask for help. There is, in addition to all of this, the issue of familial roles. As Mitchell and Adrienne struggle with stepping away from work for their child, the others face the opposite issue. Lina is already heading back to work and does not trust her problematic mother-inlaw with the newborn. Jessie has had a profitable career but is reconsidering the idea of being a stay-at-home mother.
Her husband, raised affluently, wishes to push forward as double income, and they continue to go back and forth throughout the play. This show balances a lot of emotions and topics in new motherhood: Who do I trust my baby with? Where am I comfortable taking my child? What guru-recommended tips are actually mean-spirited, if not effective? “Cry It Out” looks at realistic scenarios that don’t always have right answers. Showings are free for students in DeWitt Theatre’s mainstage at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 20-23 (Hint: tonight is the debut!) and there are also weekend matinees at 2 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24.