The first time I met Melissa Bangs she pitched me her story for Mamalode: a big, hard story about postpartum psychosis. I told her to tell it true, and she did. You can read it here.
Later I heard she was doing a one-woman stand-up show to share her story live. It was called “Playing Monopoly With God” – a show that was, at turns, sad and hilariously funny. How could a story of postpartum psychosis be funny? Intrigued and slightly nervous I agreed to attend.
I was scared of this event and the vulnerability of someone standing, live, and sharing such a hard truth. It seemed as though something could go horribly wrong. I felt like I would have to be brave just to watch and I couldn’t imagine what it would take for Melissa to show up.
And Show Up she did.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Melissa had once been a student member of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York and was an avid studier of Amy Poehler—who has guts and humor running through her veins.
What I didn’t know was that Melissa Bangs is perhaps the only person who could carry the audience safely and gently through to an understanding of something that is almost impossible to fathom.
What I didn’t know was how universal her story is—not in its specifics—but in it’s pain and hope.
Fifteen percent of mamas report some sort of postpartum depression, anxiety, panic, stress, psychosis, OCD and 5% of them end up in a psychiatric ward. This show is for them. It is also for anyone who has experienced depression, anxiety or exhaustion. It is for anyone experiencing life and its trap doors, disappointments and surprises. It was for me. It is for you.
I won’t give away any punch lines but trust me—it is very, very funny. I won’t tell you the hard stuff because honestly it still breaks my heart a bit. I will tell you that tears ran down my face, I laughed loudly and my throat was tight the entire time as I tried to manage my emotions. I sat in the dark and watched Melissa in the spotlight tell her story and I marveled at the sheer guts and immense talent it took to do this right.
When it was over I felt changed. Opened up. Exhilarated and exhausted. What I felt was nothing short of awe.
Melissa Bangs is a force and this show is a window into one of the Great Stories. I have been quoted saying “I believe that an authentic story can change the world—or at least change someone’s life,” but after witnessing the unsinkable Melissa Bangs on stage I need to add that an authentic story can also start a conversation that allows for our darkness to shine. An authentic story can heal.
Keep an eye out for our late fall PRINT Mamalode where we will feature “The Story of the Story” following Melissa’s journey as her story takes on a journey of its own.
Playing Monopoly With God will be coming to a town near you—or you should be contacting them to make sure it does come. firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-241-3500
BUY YOUR TICKETS TO THE FOLLOWING SHOWS:
West Coast tour—coming soon
East Coast tour—TBD
Global takeover—inevitable (as predicted by Mamalode)