Three Black women onstage. The woman in the center is wearing burgundy-colored clothing and is standing with her hands slightly outstretched at her sides. The woman seated on the left wears blue pants and a cream jacket and is looking down. The woman on the right is in a purple top and patterned skirt and is looking at the woman in the center. Behind them are graphics with symbols, including a treble clef, and a painting in profile of a woman in African headdress.
From left: Sylvia Wynn, Stacie Doublin, and Sandra Adjoumani in The Mamalogues at Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre Credit: Yancey Hughes

Late in Evanston’s Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre’s production of The Mamalogues, one character asks, “If I am my ancestors’ wildest dream, why am I still living out their worst nightmares?”

The Mamalogues is a 90-minute comedy that deftly tackles that question, as three professionally successful Black women gather for a meeting of the BBSM, or “Bougie Black Single Mothers.” The different stages of motherhood are front and center, but its different intersections—with sexuality, class, racial equity, just to name a few—also come to the fore in Austin, Texas-based author Lisa B. Thompson’s script. 

The Mamalogues
Through 8/7: Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes, Evanston, 847-866-5914, fjtheatre.com, $30

The meeting is administered by Lauren (Sylvia Wynn), a lesbian who chose to have and raise her child as a single mother. Second-in-command is snarky Tasha (Stacie Doublin), a widowed pediatrician who refers to BBSM as “Black Bitches Starting Messes.” Beverly (Sandra Adjoumani), the divorced mother of one of Tasha’s patients, is seemingly called up from the audience to take part as well (mothers in the audience can expect some respectful shout-outs from the cast early on). 

The storytelling and questioning comprising the titular mamalogues are triggered by a single question, supposedly from a BBSM, about what it’s like to be a mother, leading Lauren, Tasha, and Beverly from myriad topics like childbirth to Black churches, the worth society ultimately places in Black children, and the worth Black mothers place upon themselves and each other. Ultimately Thompson’s script is a deep dive into what Lauren calls “parenting while Black in the age of anxiety.”

All three performers bring out the fire in the story, but Doublin, admittedly in the showiest role, excels as Tasha. Fleetwood-Jourdain producing artistic director Tim Rhoze injects what could be a staid set piece—this is essentially centered around an organizational meeting, after all—with enough movement and music (the show makes especially great use of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It!” in key moments) for a lively staging.