Not Your Average Mama Drama

About the author: Anojja Shah (left) is a Tribeca mom who spends her days running after a feisty 2-year-old. When the Taskmaster is asleep, she enjoys reading, exploring her new neighborhood, and catching up with friends. In past lives she worked as a journalist and on Wall Street in equity research.

Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, they have two kids, and girl’s parents and grandmother move into the apartment upstairs. This is Mommyville, and the new play Sex in Mommyville, coming to the Flea Theater on August 18, is the story of what happens when the boy and girl in question try to have sex.

But this isn’t your average mama drama. Spend a few minutes with writer/actress Anna Fishbeyn and you’ll see that underneath the talk about breasts, sex, and seduction lies a whip-smart feminist with a Ph.D from Columbia. She has a lot to say about feminism and motherhood. And she’s mad. Mad that women are being held to impossibly high standards, bombarded with images of perfection every day, constantly told that they need to look younger, thinner, better. And after they have kids, they’re told they need to initiate sex with their husbands—the implicit warning being that if they don’t, their husbands will find it elsewhere. Layer in the responsibilities of caring for young kids, and Fishbeyn feels the decks are stacked against women.

Her response was to develop this play, to show the more realistic side of seduction: people with real jobs and responsibilities, getting it on with imperfect hair and not-so-sexy outfits. That’s mostly how it happens anyway, she says. “Since Reality Bites in 1994, I can’t think of a single movie where the female lead wore baggy clothes and close-cropped hair and still got the guy!”

Fishbeyn spent her early years in the former U.S.S.R. and left for the U.S. when she was nine. By that tender age she was already an accomplished singer and actress who also played the piano and violin. She had been accepted to the prestigious Moscow Theater and was scheduled to go to Paris and London to perform, but it never happened because she left for the U.S. While she stopped performing once she got here, she never forgot the thrill of being onstage. Finally, after her daughter was born six years ago, she did a reading of a story called “The Empress” all about her newborn. That eventually led to a solo show at the Cornelia Street Café last year, and now Sex in Mommyville.

Asked about future plans, she laughs and says she’d like to continue to perform and write, maybe even writing something in the future with parts played by other actors, not just herself.

Sex in Mommyville is at the Flea theater from August 18to 29. Book before Aug. 18 with the code EARLY20 and you’ll pay $20 instead of $25.


1 Comment

  1. I liked this show the first time I saw it, when it was called BABYLOVE and starred Christen Clifford. How can Fishbeyn pretend this show is some kind of “revolution” when Clifford’s one-woman show on maternal sexuality debuted years ago? Sorry, Fishbeyn, you are too late!