Mums

Mother’s Day is a bit weird for me but then it’s a bit weird for lots of people.

The alarm woke me earlier than my body clock was ready. The time change shocked me. I had to get the van to Battersea Arts Centre in order to fill it with flats, props, costume and materials ahead of the tour of Rotterdam that’s coming up. I’m cutting my fee to bare bones for this drive because I want to support this forthcoming tour. Rotterdam is a wonderful show. It has been recognised with Olivier Awards, but that’s not enough to guarantee ticket sales. Mostly it’s people already involved in theatre who notice the awards. The true test is the court of audience opinion. Go see it. 

It’s a love story. Just that. The themes are wedged into gender and sexual identity, but it’s an intelligent contemplation. It’s mostly a love story. They market and lead with the gender stuff because that’s what’s easy to get hold of in terms of “why this story now?” And to show my hand, I love to see a “non-binary” love story being told tenderly and not seeking controversy. Touring to small communities with this good play about unfamiliar thoughts will be powerful and hopefully will help people shift their empathy a bit. Sexuality and gender is a tricky thing to discuss interpersonally, as many people are extreme in their views one way or another, and others are brought up to avoid the issue. Stories like this help humanise the nuance, and touring it helps open discussion. I’ve watched it a few times, and watched audience members rethink long held assumptions about gender. It’s not an axe being ground. It’s a love story. Just … the themes are unusual.

But yeah, I loaded the van with the set for Rotterdam, to be transported to The Rose in Kingston ahead of their first week starting Thursday. It was me, Faith and Jake. They had been using the facilities at Battersea Arts Centre to dress the set, so we had to take care with the load as it was all pristine. Jake wanted an early start, as he was going to see his mum. Oh fuck, yes, it’s mother’s Day…

Until that moment I’d forgotten the mumness of today. Always just after the anniversary of her death. But she was brilliant, my mother. So glamorous and forthright. A community builder, and a huge personality to boot. I love what she gave me – my kindness, my empathy, my patience, my drive (even if not in the direction she wanted). She’d have been prouder than I am of what I’ve built so far. She’d have LOVED my friends. She was so supportive, despite desperately hoping I’d “get it out of my system.” And like me she’d have been looking to what’s next for me. She would have been setting me up with eligible women left and right, and I’d have thought 80% of them were bores, but it wouldn’t have stopped her. God I miss her. I kind of need that, being utterly disengaged with getting websites…

I hung out with Tanya’s mum tonight. She kind of remembers me, kind of doesn’t, peppered by that fucker Alzheimer’s. We used to get on beautifully twenty years ago. Even without the details we rembered our dynamic. It’s funny. I’m still the same, even if i feel totally different. Happy Mother’s Day. If you can remember your mum, honour her in memory. What a hell of a thing they did for us, wherever we go in terms of their expectations. Mine was marvellous. I bet yours is too.

I told Tanya’s mum how she used to help me out when I was struggling with life stuff. For a moment, through the fog of that bastard disease, I felt her remember. The things we teach people are for life. We don’t need to hold ownership. That’s Parenthood. And we can all do it with anyone. But mums are the best at it … 🙂

(Here’s Jake showing me what I had to get in the van. Aaaa)

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Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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