Sons & Mothers: titles don’t get much more explanatory than that. This show, quiet and simple, yet swelling with ideas, stories, heart, and, eventually, making our eyes swell with tears, is the stories of those relationships. Seven sons tell the stories of their seven mothers, of childhood and adulthood and all the fun times and stumbles along the way. These sons lovingly introduce us to their lives, their stories, and their mothers.
In 2005, director Alirio Zavarce returned to Adelaide from a visit to his mother in Venezuela. The trip wasn’t a happy one: he had returned to say good-bye to his dying mother, a huge loss in his life, his family, and particularly in the life of his older brother who had been blind since childhood. In Adelaide, he was comforted by the men he has worked with for many years through No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability’s Male Ensemble. These men told him stories of their relationships with their mothers: some alive, some no longer with us, but always in their hearts.
From these conversations, Alirio and these men eventually built Sons & Mothers, a devised work sharing their lives and loves for their mothers. For many of these men, Alirio tells us, the relationship with their mother is probably the closest relationship they will ever have with a woman.
The work is embodied not only with pathos, struggle, and great heart, but perhaps all the more importantly, with great humour. They have demonstrated an acute understanding of how to play their audience (“Clipsal makes me angry” is proudly proclaimed by Duncan to the no doubt arty audience who has been putting up with the sound of hornets and road blocks), but also a want to show the joy and loves in their lives. Some of these men have lost their mothers, they have all certainly faced (and will continue to face) discrimination and difficulties, but we are privileged enough to see them at their most joyous, doing something they love, and are good at: performing on stage, telling their stories, and sharing their loves and fears with an audience who are absolutely there along for the ride.