‘Teen Mommalogues’: Sex education from the adolescent perspective

For many parents, talking to their sons or daughters about sex can be an uncomfortable, even painful ordeal. It’s none too fun for the kids, either.

As embarrassing as “the talk” can be, however, Francine Levin wants to make sure that every family in San Luis Obispo County has that crucial conversation.

“We want to take every opportunity to prevent teen pregnancy,” said Levin, education projects supervisor at the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County Inc.

She’s also the producer of “Teen Mommalogues,” an annual theater project that addresses sex, pregnancy and parenthood from a teenager’s perspective. Public performances take place Friday and Sunday in San Luis Obispo and May 19 in Paso Robles.

Now in its eighth year, “Teen Mommalogues” is based on conversations with real-life local teens.

Levin originally modeled the thought-provoking play after Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” which explores female sexuality.

In “Teen Mommalogues,” monologues and statistics about sex are interspersed with the story of Eric and Megan, a typical teen couple who decide to become sexually active.

Levin and her writing team — which includes members of the peer educator group Youth Committed to Aides Related Communication, or YCARE — revisit the script each year.

This year, the team sent out an e-mail survey asking adults and youths about their experiences with sex talks. Their findings are presented in new scenes that show “the good way to deal with it and the not-so-good way to deal with,” Levin said.

Five adult actors will join the typically youthful cast for the first time.

According to Levin, the 10 cast members will perform for students around the county.

Community members can see “Teen Mommalogues,” directed by John Battalino, at two benefit performances at the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre. Betsey Nash of United Staffing Associates will serve as master of ceremonies.

“Teen Mommalogues” offers a free bilingual performance May 19 at Paso Robles High School, preceded by an hour-long community resource fair.

All shows are followed by “talk back” sessions with writers, cast members and teen pregnancy experts. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization’s education projects.

According to Levin, the play’s message appears to be sinking in.

Local teen births dropped from 262 in 1998 to 215 in 2008, she said. Last year, 170 teenagers gave birth in San Luis Obispo County.

“The kids … really relate to the stories,” Levin said of “Teen Mommalogues.” “It illuminates the issues in a really important way.”

Upcoming presentations of ‘Teen Mommalogues’

• 8 p.m. Friday, San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, 888 Morro St., San Luis Obispo $20, $15 for students

• 2 p.m. Sunday, San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, 888 Morro St., San Luis Obispo $12, $8 for students

• 7 p.m. May 19, Bearcat Hall, Paso Robles High School, 801 Niblick Road, Paso Robles, Free

For more information, call 544-2484 or e-mail teenmommalogues@capslo.org.