Written and Performed by Maeria Paez. Developed and Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.
Performed as part of the annual Solofest @ Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Maeria Paez is an absolutely wonderful actor and her extremely personal solo show “Ma’s Kitchen” brings us characters from her life, her memories and her vivid and beautiful imagination to spin her story of loss and love.
The show is set around a kitchen, her mother’s kitchen. The central figure is in fact her mother, Ma. Ma narrates for us, moving us back and forward through timelines in Maeria’s life, all the while stirring some kind of magical Italian sauce…oh how I could almost smell it!
It’s a deeply personal piece, full of nuance and pathos and heartache. It’s also absolutely hilarious and beautifully paced. There are spaces in this play, pauses for us to catch our breath, hold each other’s hands and breath through the sadness and the hope.
Maeria expertly flits from character to character, all the while guiding us, teasing us, and inspiring us with her words and her complete and utter openness. She is fearless. She is bold and she is breathtakingly, achingly right…about everything.
I don’t want to spoil this play by telling you too much about what this particular part of Maeria’s story “Ma’s Kitchen” is. Suffice it to say, it will seem all too familiar to many of us who have lost someone before they entered the world. I admit that I cried, quite a lot actually, but I also laughed and longed for my own sweet departed mother, who I need every day and who Ma so perfectly reminded me of.
If you have the chance to see this show, take it. Maeria is a master of voice and an accomplished voiceover artist. This fabulous skill only makes her story more profound as she mimics friends and family so sweetly and creates her world for us to spend just a little time in.
I loved “Ma’s Kitchen.” It’s a triumph of a solo show, a homage to the strength and the tenderness that exist in all of us.
I think it might be at Fringe this year…but best to check out Maeria’s website for future dates.