Written by Elizabeth Ann Foster

“This is going to be hard,” said the woman seated next to me.

As I knew nothing about the play about to start I stared blankly back at her. The woman looked in disbelief at me and asked “You don’t know?”

Why had I not heard about the play, read a review or even the playbill? I thought my fellow theater goer would lose it as I felt apologetic. Evidently it was a very difficult subject.

Child pornography.

accidentally brave is a one-woman, true story, one act play, or a 90-minute therapy session.

The actor tells the story first person. Only first person. No one else’s account but of Maddie Corman (Maddie). This is commendable. Painstakingly it is clear she can only speak to and answer questions about what she knows firsthand and has experienced. She cannot tell the audience why her husband of 20 years was a child porn addict. She cannot tell us what her children went through or experienced. It’s clear what has transpired has inadequately registered with her.

There is a screen behind her which flashes the time line. 24 hours after the arrest, 72 hours after the incident, it is all so surreal.

Maybe I am the only one in Manhattan who didn’t see the New York Daily News headline the day the director of Law and Order was arrested for child pornography.

The police raided Maddie’s home at 5 a.m. confiscating computers with evidence. Three hovering hysterical children watched.

As she is driving to work in Brooklyn to film, Maddie receives a frantic call from her 16-year old daughter in distress.

To say Maddie was blindsided is an understatement.

20 years of marriage.

“Did you know?” is the most frequently asked question of her in the ensuing days.

This is a heart wrenching journey (don’t you hate that expression Maddie asks the audience) through an unimaginable addiction.

We go to rehab with Maddie as she attends family weekend and learns she can’t drink – after all it is an addiction rehabilitation.

Back in NY her husband is sentenced and registered as a sexual predator. Maddie goes back to work. The set she is managing is too antiseptic. The director calls for “clutter.” Newspapers are wrinkled and strewn around. Her husband’s mug shot on front pages stares up at her.

In the ladies’ room afterwards the woman who had been sitting next to me says hello again. She tells me she is the godmother of Maddie’s twins.

Her pain is clear. The experience of this production hit so many raw nerve endings.  She cannot come to terms with the scared innocent children.

“I could not laugh as others did,” she said as she walked directly to the bar and ordered a Chardonnay.

As I leave the theatre with my head spinning I overhear someone comment that there is no age limit for girls to be betrothed in many parts of the world.

I make a silent vow to read the papers more.

accidently brave -Written and performed by Maddie Corman.

Directed by Kristin Hanggi; scenic design by Jo Winiarski; lighting design by Jamie Roderick; sound by Bart Fasbender; projection by Elaine J. McCarthy; original music by Claire Wellin. At DR2 Theatre 101 East 15th Street 2nd floor, New York, NY 10003. Ticketmaster.com or call 1800-745-3000. Limited engagement beginning March 11. Running time 90 minutes no intermission.