Playing Monopoly With God, A Review

Elke Playing Monopoly with God

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The first time I met Melissa Bangs she pitched me her story for Mamalode: a big, hard story about postpartum psychosis. I told her to tell it true, and she did. You can read it here.

Later I heard she was doing a one-woman stand-up show to share her story live. It was called “Playing Monopoly With God” – a show that was, at turns, sad and hilariously funny. How could a story of postpartum psychosis be funny? Intrigued and slightly nervous I agreed to attend.

I was scared of this event and the vulnerability of someone standing, live, and sharing such a hard truth. It seemed as though something could go horribly wrong. I felt like I would have to be brave just to watch and I couldn’t imagine what it would take for Melissa to show up.

And Show Up she did.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Melissa had once been a student member of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New York and was an avid studier of Amy Poehler—who has guts and humor running through her veins.

What I didn’t know was that Melissa Bangs is perhaps the only person who could carry the audience safely and gently through to an understanding of something that is almost impossible to fathom.

What I didn’t know was how universal her story is—not in its specifics—but in it’s pain and hope.

Fifteen percent of mamas report some sort of postpartum depression, anxiety, panic, stress, psychosis, OCD and 5% of them end up in a psychiatric ward. This show is for them. It is also for anyone who has experienced depression, anxiety or exhaustion. It is for anyone experiencing life and its trap doors, disappointments and surprises. It was for me. It is for you.

I won’t give away any punch lines but trust me—it is very, very funny. I won’t tell you the hard stuff because honestly it still breaks my heart a bit. I will tell you that tears ran down my face, I laughed loudly and my throat was tight the entire time as I tried to manage my emotions. I sat in the dark and watched Melissa in the spotlight tell her story and I marveled at the sheer guts and immense talent it took to do this right.

When it was over I felt changed. Opened up. Exhilarated and exhausted. What I felt was nothing short of awe.

Melissa Bangs is a force and this show is a window into one of the Great Stories. I have been quoted saying “I believe that an authentic story can change the world—or at least change someone’s life,” but after witnessing the unsinkable Melissa Bangs on stage I need to add that an authentic story can also start a conversation that allows for our darkness to shine.  An authentic story can heal.


Keep an eye out for our late fall PRINT Mamalode where we will feature “The Story of the Story” following Melissa’s journey as her story takes on a journey of its own.

Playing Monopoly With God will be coming to a town near you—or you should be contacting them to make sure it does come. or 406-241-3500


Helena, MT: Sept 17 Myrna Loy Theater

Bozeman, MT: Oct 15-17 Verge Theater

West Coast tour—coming soon

East Coast tour—TBD

Global takeover—inevitable (as predicted by Mamalode)


About the Author


Elke Govertsen is a entrepreneur and founder of Mamalode. She has been featured in Real Simple, Forbes, Where Women Create, Ad Tech, and listed as one of Origin Magazine's "Top 100 Creatives." She has been a speaker at The Girls Lounge, Adweek, C2Montreal, HATCH, TEDx and (her favorite) in classrooms. She speaks on a variety of topics from entrepreneurship to overcoming obstacles. She loves consulting in the areas of community design, storytelling and brand building. Her special skills include extreme bootstrapping, overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities. Of the many things she has learned by doing Mamalode, her ability to work with absolute chaos/kids/mess just might be the best. She is learning that slowing down creates more impact.

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