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      Michaela Di Cesare tackles family secrets on stage

      Jun. 9, 2011

      Michaela Di Cesare always knew she wanted to tell the story of her mother’s conception. She grew up hearing the incredible tale of how her grandmother got pregnant without ever being with a man. A miracle celebrated and enforced by the storytellers in her family.

      “I didn’t know how I was going to tell her story. I just knew I would. But I never had an appropriate reason, so the idea was shelved,” Di Cesare explains.

      Then a few years ago, a personal event would change all that. Di Cesare’s first love broke up with her two weeks after proposing marriage. Her family did not react well, and complained how today’s young people were reckless and improper, unlike the older generation. But Di Cesare knew better. And she finally had an outlet for her story.

      In just a couple of days she would write 65 pages of her autobiographical one-woman play, 8 Ways my Mother was Conceived.

      The play centers on a young Italian-Canadian woman (Di Cesare) who goes through a breakup. As her life begins to veer off script, the young protagonist goes on a quest to discover the truth behind her mother’s legendary conception, spanning the years between 1961 and 2010 from Calabria to Montreal to Toronto. The play explores truth, judgment, family secrets, and how a marriage can “fix” everything.

      The play’s first foray on the stage was a reading at a fundraising event. As a courtesy, Di Cesare gave her mother a copy of the play beforehand, so she would not have any surprises.

      Her mother was mortified.

      “My mom still thinks there’s a stigma about being born out of wedlock,” Di Cesare admits.

      “She gave me three reasons why I couldn’t do the play. There was too much truth in the story, people will think I am conceited because it’s a one-woman show, and finally, no decent man will love me,” she continues.

      Di Cesare would go ahead with the reading anyway, and would add her mother’s warnings to the final version. Her mother is now one of Di Cesare’s biggest fans.

      8 Ways my Mother was Conceived will make its Montreal premiere at this year’s St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival.

      The play venue is 4001 Space, located at 4001 Berri. Showtimes are: June 11, 9:45PM; June 12, 2:45PM; June 13, 6:00PM; June 15, 9:30PM; June 18, 7:30PM; and June 19, 3:15PM.

      General admission is $10.00. And $8.00 for students, theatre folk and certified virgins. There is a $2 Fringe surcharge.

      Yes, you read correctly, “certified virgins.”

      To learn more about the play, please visit For details about the Montreal Fringe Festival, please visit

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