off the WALL Productions' 2022 Season features a series of extraordinary, complex, and compelling solo performances. The series kicks off with a powerful piece titled, “The Ins and Outs of Fingers, Spoons, and an Open Marriage,” written and performed by Pascale Roger-McKeever. After a short interview with Pascale, we discover rather intriguing elements in the depth of her inspiring writing process.
This edgy and daring story confronts us with sensitive topics as it explores the complexities of human dynamics through the lens of a mid-40s Mom with a traumatic past, and an apparent self-awareness for the way in which it influences her relationship with herself and with others. Although Mom is decades into recovery, her past heavily informs her life today, and has possibly made her a late bloomer in terms of a juicy and exciting sex life.
We see how Mom gracefully carries the weight of her past into the present as an opportunity presents itself to further explore this side of herself, within the context of her open marriage, something her ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ husband urges her to do. Mom dives into this new experience full-heartedly, with the same fervor as anything she does, and she becomes alive on a whole new level, without abandoning her motherly responsibilities, of course. Mom’s most important relationship with her Son, and she takes pride in keeping him sheltered from the trauma of her past.
During my interview with Pascale, she mentioned the ways in which the show has evolved. Her extensive writing process includes a lot of rewriting and tweaking. In her absence from the stage since the start of the pandemic, Pascale realizes the inevitable new dimensions to the show, as we are forced to reflect on the significance of the struggles and changes we have endured, independently and as a collective society. The human perception of conflict and painful events has shifted as we have experienced a lack of proper human connection, and although this show was written before 2020, it resonates with us in an especially distinct way in 2022. Pascale explains that when she performs this piece, it’s all about staying present. “On some level, it feels like a monster. But all I can do is my best, moment to moment,” she explains, as she works to bring the different voices and characters to life without being cliché.
There are elements of humor in this piece, in Mom’s matter-of-fact delivery, she is almost laughing as she talks about what she is going through because of her hindsight and self-awareness. Then, there are provocative elements such as Mom’s breakthrough of new and powerful sexual experiences, a discovery of something sensationally empowering, and begging the question, who can say no to that? There is also a universal message of what it is to be human, how we choose to navigate the relationships we have with others, and what may be influencing the way we make choices in life. As Mom tells her story, we are reminded of our own humanity and the intricate wonders and flaws that come along with it.
“The Ins and Outs of Fingers, Spoons, and an Open Marriage” provokes a unique audience response, as it speaks to people of all walks of life, inviting us to tap into our personal experiences. While this show may be more evidently relatable for some than others, it’s an intimate experience for all.
Pascale’s show is coming to Carnegie Stage this month! We invite you to come see this truly exceptional story come to life: