Before You Were Alive

Written and Performed by Beth Gilleland


October 17th through November 9th, 2019

There are many ways to become a Mom. Actor and Playwright Beth Gilleland always knew she could raise someone else’s child, but she never expected it to happen. Before You Were Alive recounts the remarkable series of events which led Beth to take on a role which she had never played before: full-time mother to a four-year-old boy.

Kids do say the darnedest things, and we can thank Beth Gilleland for being the mom who was there to remember them and filter them through her signature wit.  This one-woman play lets all of us into Beth and the Boy’s journey as they both learn how to navigate their new relationship.

Directed by Michael Robins

Featuring the Live music of DB Carlson

Tickets $17-$30

Beth Gilleland is an Artistic Associate with Illusion Theater, and has made any appearances on Illusion Theater’s stage as both actor and writer. She’s played the leading roles in Iron Kisses, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Two Weeks with the Queen, and The Laramie Project, among others. 

At Illusion she has written and performed in If We Never Meet Again, Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens, and Spirit House (with composer Mary Ellen Childs). Her musical Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters, (written with Bob Beverage) commissioned by and first presented at the History Theater in St. Paul, has been translated into Dutch and German, jumping the pond to Austria, Belgium, and Germany. 

Beth was a company member at Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. She has written and performed for MPR, NPR, and BBC Scotland from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has performed professionally ever since she was in Godspell at the Chimera Theater (now the History Theater) at age nineteen. Her family show History-on-a-Schtick, commissioned by MNHS and the State Fair Foundation, was presented twice daily for its fifth year on the Schell Stage at the Minnesota State Fair.