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Scituate women look for humor amid the ordeal of breast cancer

Posted by dinouye  October 23, 2010 11:39 AM

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By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe correspondent

moms.JPGLisa Rafferty, Pam Ahl, and Jane McGovern [from left in photo], all breast cancer survivors from Scituate, know the disease is no laughing matter. But looking at the components of it, including hair loss and the sheer number of charity events devoted to breast cancer awareness -- that can be funny, they feel.

They’re counting on that to raise money for The Ellie Fund, a breast cancer non-profit that provides support to Massachusetts’ women and their families. The women will stage ‘‘The MOMologues: Pink Ribbon Overdose,’’ next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café Boston Cavern Club, in Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Rafferty is a freelance theater director now working at Turtle Lane Playhouse in Newton and is a part-time theater teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham. She is also the creator and co-author of the successful ‘‘The MOMologues’’ and ‘‘MOMologues 2: Off to School.’’

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2007 and was asked by friends and family if she’d write a comedy about it. She would, she said, if she found willing collaborators, and she did in McGovern and Ahl. The production Wednesday will be the play’s first public performance.

‘‘The trick is to take a situation that is singularly unfunny and look at it from different angles to find the funny,’’ Rafferty said. ‘‘Hair loss, for example, is the most unfunny thing that happen to a woman, but in hindsight, some of it is funny. The wind comes along and my look is completely different when it’s blown away, you have to walk around with a hand on your head.’’

The main source of humor — the enormous amount of pink-hued causes — gave rise to the play’s name, she said.

‘‘We got hysterical sitting around Jane’s kitchen naming all the pink-ribbon things,’’ Rafferty said. ‘‘Pink Ribbon Pringles? Are you kidding me? Or pink-ribbon therapeutic pillows -- everything is pink ribbon. There have been a lot of articles about the pink-ribbon backlash, and I’m not in that camp, but I say you might as well laugh with it.’’

The hour-long reading will be done by WCVB-TV’s Bianca de la Garza, Susan Wornick, and Karen Holmes Ward, and Scituate actress Erica McDermott, and Ellie Fund Executive Director Julie Nations. All proceeds go to the Ellie Fund.

Clothing retailer Lyn Evans of Potpourri Designs will host a ‘‘Pop Up Boutique’’ at the event, and 15 percent of those proceeds will go to the Ellie Fund, which provides transportation, childcare, housekeeping, groceries and meals to more than 500 breast cancer patients and families across the state.

‘‘You have to find the funny,’’ Rafferty said. ‘‘You can either cry-- and believe me, you do plenty of that -- or you can laugh at having to walk around with your hand on your head.’’

Tickets are $30 for the show and include hors d’oeuvres. For tickets and information, visit the Ellie Fund or MOMologues websites.

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