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Friday June 18th

'Exit Cuckoo' reflects on domestic workers

After a stint off-Broadway and a tour around the world, Lisa Ramirez is bringing her provocative one-woman show to Kenan Theatre.

Ramirez — former New York nanny turned playwright — is presenting her play, “Exit Cuckoo (Nanny in Motherland),” as part of PlayMakers Repertory Company’s discussion oriented series, PRC2.

See “Exit Cuckoo”

Time: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Sunday.
Location: Kenan Theatre

“(The play is) my journey from California to New York as a nanny,” said Ramirez, who wrote and acts alone in the play.

“Exit Cuckoo” was not a show that many wanted to put on, Ramirez said.

“When Broadway producers came to watch it they really liked it, but they thought that some of the characters would alienate some audiences,” she said.

The play follows a fictionalized story of motherhood, nannying and the politics inherent in both.

“When I started my nannying I met all these women … who had been fired, and I told my friend Eve Ensler, ‘I gotta become a waitress, this profession is too heavy,’” Ramirez said.

Ensler — known best for her book-turned-popular-play, “The Vagina Monologues” — encouraged Ramirez to write a play about her nanny experiences.

Ramirez said that her observations from nannying introduced her to the troubles domestic workers face. She has since been a volunteer and member of the advocacy group, Domestic Workers United.

“Most domestic workers, until recently, in New York had no rights as workers,” Ramirez said.

She attended the vote on New York’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights last August, where her play, “Invisible Women-Rise,” was quoted. The bill, which went into effect in November, reforms basic work standards for nannies, caregivers and housekeepers in the state.

“Lisa’s level of advocacy paired with the level of engagement and conversation will make for a perfect match with the series,” said Jeffrey Meanza, PlayMakers’ associate artistic director.

After each PRC2 show, the audience is given the chance to interact with the artist and scholars knowledgeable of the topic at hand.

“This show fits into what the PRC2 series calls for,” said Hannah Grannemann, managing director at PlayMakers.

Ramirez said she thinks she retains a balanced point of view on the nanny-mother relationship in “Exit Cuckoo” by not placing blame on either party.

“Whenever you talk about women raising other people’s children, everyone has an opinion,” she said.

For now, the play will try to keep the University talking.

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