THE STORY: Fran and Molly are best friends; Molly is already a mother and is expecting again, but Fran is approaching forty and has yet to find a potential father, let alone husband, amid a comic slew of failed suitors and blind dates, each of whom we hear about in hysterically funny and embarrassing detail during Fran and Molly's frequent days out together. When Molly delivers, Fran is so moved and slightly envious that she sets out to explore the possibilities of single motherhood, eventually winding up with a shady lawyer who will arrange for Fran to adopt an unwanted baby if she'll cover the mother's medical costs. Meanwhile, the mother, an Indiana teenager named Jen, is debating her decision to give up the baby. When the baby is born, Fran makes the mistake of showing up at the hospital where she accidentally runs into Jen and begins to realize that she's just taken part in an illegal adoption. After she's returned to the city with the baby, Fran has dreams about the baby's natural mother that haunt her, along with the doubts about the impact of what she's done, even as baby Tara sustains her.
First produced in New York by the Women's Project, APPROXIMATING MOTHER is a contemporary new comedy about today's middle-class maternity boom. In the play, two women friends from the city, and a pregnant Midwestern teenager, discourse on the pros and cons of parenting, motherhood and shady adoptions, all the while coping with their own impending deliveries and/or childbearing deadlines. "In her splendid APPROXIMATING MOTHER, Kathleen Tolan lays out an intimate, honest and often comic look at what it means to have a baby in the 1990s. Her woman's angle, wry and acute, comes as welcome relief…" —NY Newsday. "…the fresh and original APPROXIMATING MOTHER…honestly treats parenthood in our times, instead of presenting it like a TV fad…Fran is the best-developed character seen in a play in a long time. She is at once genuine, unique, admirable, amusing and imperfect…not one of [Kathleen Tolan] strokes is false." —NY Law Journal.