Sections

The mother country: New play tackles marriage, moms, and immigration

Mom knows best: In B. Nandi Jacob’s play “Mother-in-Law,” at the Black Lady Theatre on April 7, the title character schemes to break up her son’s upcoming marriage.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

She’s written a moving comedy!

A British-Trinidadian playwright will launch a heartwarming comedy about immigration and messy relationships this weekend. “Mother-in-Law,” opening at the Black Lady Theatre in Bedford-Stuyvesant on April 7, follows undocumented immigrant Petra as she prepares to marry her fiance Philo, only to face interference from her soon-to-be mother-in-law. Playwright B. Nandi Jacob said that she rewrote her main character several times in order to make her story more relevant to the current situation with Caribbean immigrants — a subject that is rarely joked about.

“She wasn’t always undocumented, but her story is very important to the community, and it raises the stakes about immigration,” said Jacob. “But I really want people to get a critical story and laugh. I thought it was important enough to highlight while laughing, because my creative arts is always surrounded with laughter and being able to find joy somehow.”

Set in a Brownsville apartment, the stage play contrasts the highly educated Petra with her fame-seeking fiance Philo, who Jacob describes as a glorified subway performer.

“This guy wants to be Soca star, and he sings on the 4 train and tosses his hat around for money,” she said.

Both are Trinidadian, but Petra’s immigration status comes with a lot of setbacks. And when she suspects that her not-quite mother-in-law is plotting to send her back to Trinidad, it puts a great deal of stress on her relationship with Philo, said Jacob.

“She is frustrated with him, because to him, his mom can do no wrong,” she said. “But as the plot unfolds, he has to make a choice.”

Jacob says mainstream news outlets focus on Mexican and South American immigrants, ignoring how black and Caribbean immigrants are also affected by the new restrictions, and that her play is a rare chance to learn about a story facing many in the Caribbean community.

“In the immigration struggle — we are literally absent from it, but this issue has always been in our community, especially for those who came here and are undocument­ed,” she said. “And now that immigration has tightened up, there are many undocumented immigrants who are impacted, and going through a marriage like Petra’s. For Caribbean people, there’s a lot of us who know so many stories like this, and my ultimate goal is to get that message out there — and make people laugh.”

“Mother-in-Law” at the Black Lady Theatre [750 Nostrand Ave. between Park and Sterling places in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 771–0900, www.theblackladytheatre.com]. April 7 at 8 pm. $30.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 5:46 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your community:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!