Family Secrets

A taping of a one-woman show called "Family Secrets" performed by Donna Blue Lachman at the Apple Tree Theatre. Over the course of several costume changes, she plays first the father, then the mother, then the two daughters, then the grandmother of a middle class Jewish-American family.

00:00Copy video clip URL Opens with a black stage. Sounds of gruff “Uh-huhs” and “Yeahs.” The lights come up on Donna Blue Lachman, dressed as a heavy-set man named Mort, talking on the phone. He begins to talk about his oldest daughter.

04:50Copy video clip URL He talks about his plans to renew his vows with his wife for their anniversary, and his unwillingness to let his daughter bring her girlfriend to the anniversary celebration. “I’d rather be miserable than call and make her happy.”

06:00Copy video clip URL He talks about happiness, about getting married, taking the train into the city. His wife says, “If they’re not coming, I’m not coming” in reference to their daughter.

07:44Copy video clip URL “I meet Molly. She’s a nice girl, for my son Joel maybe.”

09:39Copy video clip URL He talks about dancing with his wife. The bandleader says “Everyone who is in love, join them.” And his daughter dances with her girlfriend Molly. He didn’t call her for a month after that.

10:49Copy video clip URL He recalls a fight they had when he finally called her. “I says, ‘Who are you?’ She says, ‘I don’t know. I’m just trying to figure out what makes me happy.'”

12:30Copy video clip URL His daughter says she’s going to have a baby. She broke up with Molly, and met a guy named Miguel. He is relieved that she’s not dating a woman, but not pleased that the guy’s name is Miguel. Miguel is a spiritual medium. “Is there any money in there, I mean you’re going to have a baby, right?” “Don’t worry, Daddy, the universe will provide.” He holds up his wallet: “Want to see the universe? It’s right here.”

14:40Copy video clip URL Starts talking about his youngest daughter, who’s sixteen, and his son Joel who graduated from Columbia University with a degree in engineering. They send him to Israel as a graduation present, and he decides to stay there living in a kibbutz as a shepherd.

16:02Copy video clip URL Lachman transforms from Mort into his wife, Beverly, by changing her clothes and putting on a different wig, sitting in front of a vanity with a hollow frame where the mirror would be.

18:00Copy video clip URL She pantomimes petting the dog. “Just got back from taking the dog to the chiropractor.”

19:16Copy video clip URL “I lost my mother when I was a little girl… so I swore that I would be the perfect mother. That’s what drove me crazy.” To be the perfect mother, you have to have the perfect world. She talks about her nervous breakdown. “My husband had a good job, we had major medical, so I took advantage of it.”

24:04Copy video clip URL While in the psychiatric hospital, “for the first time in years I felt terrific.” She talks about being sedated and receiving shock treatments. She talks about ten years later when she started going to a therapist.

27:35Copy video clip URL The therapist encourages her to resolve her anger over her mother. So she has to have her mother’s ashes shipped from New York to California. When the ashes arrive, she feels grief for her mother and their lost relationship.

31:40Copy video clip URL Lachman begins singing and the lights go down as she transforms again. Sings, “Everything she touches changes, she changes everything she touches.”

33:30Copy video clip URL Lachman is now playing the oldest daughter. She is going to do a menstruation ritual with her friend Molly, involving boiled eggs, because it’s a full moon. “Since I’ve been doing this ritual, my PMS is gone. I don’t know if it’s the respect I have for my body, or just the extra protein I’m getting from the eggs.”

35:00Copy video clip URL She talks about women as healers. She starts to sing to the goddess. The Great Mother. “It wasn’t Adam’s rib, it was Eve’s vagina.”

36:30Copy video clip URL Talks about pads and tampons. She had her baby at home because she wanted to feel her connection to the Great Mother. She talks about giving birth.

42:02Copy video clip URL She talks about her mother coming to help her during labor, and how crazy her mother must have been to give birth three times. “No, honey, I wasn’t crazy. I was unconscious.”

46:43Copy video clip URL She talks about when her baby was finally born. “It was the most beautiful slimy thing I ever saw.”

48:00Copy video clip URL She talks about the first time her baby was coughing, and her panic thinking the baby was going to die. Her mother tells her, “You’re not going to get off that easy.”

49:30Copy video clip URL Lachman transforms into “Sandra,” the teenage daughter who listens to heavy metal and hates chicken, except Kentucky Fried Chicken.

52:15Copy video clip URL She talks about her mother finding her pot. “Sandra this is a cry for help, and I want you to tell me who your pusher is.”

54:00Copy video clip URL She talks about her crush on Stevie Fine.

56:13Copy video clip URL She asks a member of the audience whether she should call Stevie. She picks up the phone to call him, but her mother is on the line. “When I am eighteen, I am outta here.”

59:20Copy video clip URL She talks about her “beautiful night” with Stevie. They have sex, but it doesn’t last long and she’s not very into it. Then she gets a call from a friend who tells her that Stevie is still going out with his girlfriend. She conspires to sneak out of her house to meet her friend. She is unsuccessful.

1:04:15Copy video clip URL Lachman sings and makes another costume change, into an old lady named “Rose.” She attempts to lead the audience in the song “Hava Nagila.”

1:09:24Copy video clip URL “I got old. I don’t know when I got old.” She is the mother of Mort, who was the father at the beginning. She talks about trying to kill herself by taking pills and sticking her head in the oven. Her son asks, “You live on the 33rd floor. Why didn’t you just jump out the window?”

1:12:00Copy video clip URL She talks about her late-life romance with a man named Milton. He said “Rose, I want to make an honest woman out of you, and I want you to have my baby.”

1:17:02Copy video clip URL She talks about the wedding, and her family gathering for it. She leads the audience in a sing-along.

1:20:30Copy video clip URL “We’re family. If we didn’t have family, we’d all be strangers, right?”

1:21:11Copy video clip URL The lights go down. Applause. The lights come up and Lachman steps out and takes her bows. She thanks the audience and makes announcements.

1:23:12Copy video clip URL End.



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