The Marsh presents…
Carlo D’Amore’s NO PAROLE
Directed by Margarett Perry
This is a one-person show about family and what we owe our parents no matter what kind of people they are. It combines the sentiment, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives,” with ”Home is where they have to take you in.” Carlo D’Amore’s mother was a flamboyant, live-for-the-moment con artist who posed as an attorney, a professor, a daycare worker and a nun. She drags her children through one misadventure after another all in the spirit of keeping the household afloat. The plot is mesmerizing, the pace relentless and the acting a phenomenal work of art. The dialogue is funny and sad and it rings uncomfortably true.
D’Amore plays all the characters in his sketch, from his mother as a vibrant, young woman to her 60 year old stroke battered self, as well as himself as a child, teenager and adult, his brother, his father and various law enforcement officials, doctors and others involved in his mothers crazy survival schemes. Throughout the entire piece, the mother’s love for her children shines through the crazy escapades she invents. The mother with her variety of identities and her socio-pathological view of life reminded me of a South American Auntie Mame.
In 90 non-stop minutes, No Parole paints a vivid and hilarious look into the life of an extraordinarily creative woman who devised an illicit, outrageous and delightful playground of life for her family. At times, the character switching gets confusing but no matter…the message is always very clear: survival is worth any price and truth takes second place when it comes to need. The production is an autobiographical piece that professes its theme to be “Family is a Life Sentence,” but I found it to be more positive than that. I saw the picture of a mother determined to give her children the best in life even if she had to seal and cheat to do it. It is the old story of the man who is labeled a thief because he stole bread to feed his children. You forgive him and you admire his courage.
Carlo D’Amore shows us how much a mother will sacrifice for the love she feels for the children she brought into the world and even if her solutions to the problems of poverty and hunger seem bizarre, with absolutely no regard for either propriety or law, you cannot help but love her for it and envy the son who was so adored that his mother would end up in jail for protecting him.
No Parole received rave reviews when it first played at the San Francisco Playhouse in July, 2007 and this revised version is even more powerful than its premier. It was presented earlier this fall in Sacramento and the Sacramento Bee called it, “…an exemplary piece, funny, touching and true – as true as art can be.”
“My mother was a con artist,” says D’Amore. “And I’m very much my mother’s son. I had a choice: to be a con artist or be an actor.”
It is to the advantage of us all that D’Amore decided to go the theater route. He is a superb actor and he shines in this story he wrote about his life with his mother. And he is determined to keep finding theatrical homes for his show. “Nobody has ever given me a role like this, so it was partly me creating a vehicle for myself,” he said. “But I also feel I’ve come to a place through the writing of this of complete forgiveness of my mother.”
It is well worth the trip into San Francisco to experience this sympathetic, bittersweet picture of a mother who stopped at nothing to make her family whole and the son who brings her to life with energy, sympathy and love.
IF YOU GO:
No Parole continues through December 13
1062 Valencia Street
800 838 3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com
About Lynn Ruth
Causes Lynn Ruth Miller Supports
Habitat for Humanity