NSA Patron Talks Up Sons & Mothers

Kelly Vincent MLC and patron of No Strings Attached.

Kelly Vincent MLC and patron of No Strings Attached.

Today our documentary SONS & mothers was mentioned as a Matter of Interest in South Australian parliament by No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability Patron Kelly Vincent MLC.

Here is what she said.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT (15:35): Today I would like to speak about an exciting upcoming event of importance to both the Adelaide arts and disability communities. Members may recall the multi-award winning stage production by No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability, Sons and Mothers, which first appeared in the 2012 Fringe Festival to wide acclaim. The cast is comprised of the men’s ensemble of No Strings Attached and each of these men use the show to write a love letter to their own mother. For some of them the relationship with their mother may be the most intimate or the most tumultuous they have ever known.

Members are probably aware that the production is returning to Adelaide this month, and I want to make sure that they are also aware of the accompanying documentary, which will be making its world premiere on 20 October 20 as part of the Adelaide Film Festival. The documentary, produced by local company POP Pictures, follows each of the seven men of the men’s ensemble, plus writer/director Alirio Zavarce, throughout the development of the production as they share with each other and with the audience the tales of how they met their mothers. Some mothers have passed on, others are still full or part-time carers for their son’s and all make their presence felt as their sons lay bare the way in which these women have shaped their paths. Some of the surviving mothers also share candid accounts of the challenges and joys of raising a child with a disability.

Some of the sons we meet throughout the documentary include the gentle giant and part-time punk, Ryan; the theatre-mad Kym; the ethereal dancer, Ricky; the class clown, Damien; and the musically gifted Abner, who says:

My mother was a radical feminist separatist lesbian before her father died, and she never did explain to me why she divorced my dad, but I guess it was because she was a separatist lesbian.

Others include the concise and witty Duncan, and Ben who, when asked the question ‘What makes a woman a mother?’, gives a response that is at once subtle and profound: ‘She just is.’ We also gain insight into the life of writer/director Alirio who returned to his native Venezuela in 2004 so that his mother, who had cancer, could die in his arms. It would be upon his return to Adelaide that he would begin work on this production.

As members can see, this documentary offers up a wide range of personalities and experiences to be enjoyed. I would like to thank the men’s ensemble for being so willing to share so much of their lives throughout this project and, in particular, I would like to thank producer Louise Pascale and director Chris Houghton for their respect in allowing the sons and the mothers to tell their own stories for, as anyone who like me has already seen the film can tell you, they do that very well.

Following the screening of the documentary, I, as patron of No Strings Attached, will be moderating a panel discussion about the role and place of disability arts with some very accomplished panel members, both local and imported. These include local theatre designer Gaelle Mellis; UK-born writer and performer Julie McNamara; and Sam Charles and Matthew Wauchtope of the Sit Down and Shut Up Film Festival.

This promises to be an engaging, emotional and thought-provoking afternoon of cinema and discussion for which I hope members would join us. Tickets, including access to the panel discussion, are just $18 full price or $14 concession. I hope to see all members there with the film screening starting at noon on Sunday 20 October at the Regal Cinema. This will be the only screening at this time, so I hope members will make an effort to attend. For further details, of course, members can see the Adelaide Film Festival program or website, and I hope to see all members there at this very important and exciting event.