Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin reflects on her own Mama at the end of the second week of MAMA rehearsal

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin and Latoya Rhodes in rehearsal for MAMA

Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin has previously appeared in Plan-B’s THE THIRD CROSSING, NOTHING PERSONAL and SLAM. She plays all the Mamas in MAMA running February 12-22, 2015.

When Carleton Bluford’s call for stories about mothers first came across my Facebook feed, I thought about submitting, but then I couldn’t drill down to to one watershed moment of maternal relations on one post. Also life got in the way and I forgot. I am glad that I get a ‘ do over” in this regard.

Not only did I get to participate in the first reading of this production but I get to play all the Mamas and, in so doing, I pay homage to my Mama.

My Mama is tough as nails yet has the most generous soul. She was the oldest of 8 siblings and became a mother herself at a very young age. Yet somehow she managed to not only help take care of her siblings as well as my brother and me but, growing up, I remember always having people crash at our house for extended periods of time when they were down on their luck.

My Mama did not take any crap from anyone. I recall the time we moved into a new neighborhood that three young girls who I had never met came to my house. When I answered the door they started yelling and cursing about how they wanted to kick my butt. I closed the door and went back inside to watch TV with my mother and brother. My mother heard all of the shenanigans and told me that I better go outside and kick their asses or she would whip mine. She said “No child of mine is going to allow someone to come to her house and start some mess.” Besides if you don’t stand up to them now, you will be running forever.  So that night my brother made certain that it was a fair fight and I had 3 epic fist-to-cuff battles one after the other. (I won, because I am such a bad ass and my brother taught me how to fight. Plus the fact that I was really pissed that those heifers made my Mama mad enough to say she was going to punish me.)  When we got back inside, Mama just fixed us a plate of food, we ate dinner and resumed watching TV. I  remember feeling elated that I had stood up for myself.

My Mama is the definition of true grit. Without putting all her business on blast, she was able to overcome some very rough times. Sixteen years ago she made a leap of faith, left her demons in the dust and took a bus to Utah to be nearer to me and her grandchild. I am so glad she did. Otherwise I would miss her voice calling out in every production I have ever been in: “That’s my baby! Isn’t she fabulous?” I’m her biggest fan.” I love you Mama.

Carleton Bluford’s MAMA receives its world premiere February 12-22 at Plan-B, featuring Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, William Cooper Howell, Latoya Rhodes and Elizabeth Summerhays, directed by Jerry Rapier. Click here for tickets, press and more information.

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