Maureen Muldoon is a captivating storyteller. From the opening moments of her one-woman show, the inaugural production in Madison Street Theatre’s Power of One solo series, she captures our attention and keeps it with an hour’s worth of rambling autobiographical musings, mixed in with bits of song and some performance poetry. Muldoon, a contemporary suburban mom, broods on how to respond to her daughter’s announcement, via a sign on the bedroom door, that she identifies as pansexual and transgender and prefers the pronouns “he,” “him,” and “his.” Entertaining as the monologue is, one leaves it feeling dissatisfied, as if there’s more she could—or should—have included in her stories.
Muldoon spends much of the show reflecting on her own life: growing up Catholic in New Jersey, coping as a teen with her mother’s early death from cancer, trying (and failing) as an adolescent to reconcile the church’s puritanical teachings on sex and sexuality with her own awakening desires. What we don’t hear much about is the child whose own spiritual and sexual journey has led him to identify as trans. Muldoon provides a few glimpses into his life, including a sentimentalized recollection of his childhood and a charming albeit brief more recent conversation in which he announces, wittily, that he wants to be like pizza, able to be enjoyed by all. Ultimately, the child remains a cipher, however, and his search for sexual identity—of which we hear almost nothing—only serves to remind his mother of her own life and crises. v