Fringe Festival features ‘My Mother’s in the Audience’ by Carmel Valley student


When four stage mothers go rogue, being pitted against each other to win the much-coveted award of “Best Parental Coordinator” during the opening production of “Macbeth,” the competition is so fierce that they will stop at nothing to be the victor.

This fictional scenario, which results in murderous sword fights and acts of Satanism, provides the basis for the play “My Mother’s in the Audience,” a new dark comedy written by Carmel Valley’s Jacob Surovsky, a Canyon Crest Academy senior and theater conservatory student.

Featuring the Ellipsoid Players — which includes CCA Envision theater students Kion Heidari and Phillip Magin — the production is being stage-managed by technical theater conservatory member Maya Abed and directed by Envision theater guest artist Jason Maddy.

The cast also includes Laura Bohlin, Ed Hollingsworth, Lena Jones, Julie Sachs and Wendy Waddell, and crew Alexander Waxler and Cayla Surovsky .

For the past five years, Surovsky has been submitting plays to San Diego Playwright’s Project Plays By Young Writers Contest and has been a three-time finalist.

“My Mother’s in the Audience” was written and submitted last year and selected as a finalist when it placed in the top 21 out of 581 submissions, but did not move forward into production because of adult language and its “edgy” genre of black comedy, said Jacob. He decided to produce it himself this year to debut in The San Diego International Fringe Festival. At age 17, he is this season’s youngest producer.

Surovsky said he wrote the play as reflective of one that he would want to see on stage and something that he would love to be a part of, he explained. “As it didn’t exist, I created it myself.”

This is the third year of the Fringe Festival in San Diego, which takes its inspiration from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, formed in 1947 when artists who were unable to be part of Edinburgh’s established arts festival created their own on the city’s fringes.

Now any city may produce its own fringe festival. San Diego’s is being promoted as “11 days of eyeball-busting shows” and features local and international artists.

Veteran performers travel from all over the world to participate, “and then there is a show being organized by a 17-year-old producer,” said Surovsky about himself. “Everyone is given equal value.”

To help fund the production, Surovsky created a Go Fund Me sponsorship page; opportunities to donate are still available.

Surovsky was motivated to write plays after taking theater classes at North Coast Repertory Theater in Solana Beach, he said.

Inspiration for the play’s plot came from Surovsky’s observations of volunteer theater parental coordinators at his school. He appreciates these moms and all that they do, he said. But watching them made him want to explore these roles further, “how they work and why they do what they do,” he said.

Heidari, who plays Kevin Venter, serves as a “kind of audience’s guide” in the show, he said. The character gets caught up “in all the crazy things that happen between the parental coordinators,” added Heidari.

More than a year ago, when Surovsky was explaining the basic concept of his play to other CCA theater students, Heidari knew that he wanted to be a part of the production. “The script is fantastic,” he commented. “(Jacob) is super-talented, and it’s always a pleasure working with him because of how much insight he has and his many brilliant ideas.”

A preview performance was staged at CCA’s Proscenium Theatre on July 19. During the fringe festival, Ellipsoid Players will perform the following dates: 6 p.m. Thursday, July 23; 1 p.m. July 25; 9 p.m. July 26; 10:30 p.m. July 28; and 7:30 p.m. Aug. 1 at RAW Space Off Broadway, 923 First Ave., San Diego.

Tickets are $10 at Fringe tags are $5 and must be purchased along with tickets to see any Fringe production.

To donate to Go Fund Me, visit

Visit to learn more about the play and cast members.