No Strings Attached, a contemporary, Adelaide-based theatre company that creates work through the perspectives of its disabled performers, enjoyed a successful Adelaide Fringe season in 2012 with Sons and Mothers.
The play, which has been written, devised and directed by Alirio Zavarce, picked up three Fringe awards during its 2012 premiere and is now returning to the stage. “It’s a real thrill to be putting it on again,” No Strings Attached’s Artistic Director PJ Rose says. “We have also added a new cast member, Joshua Campton, an Aboriginal Chinese fella from Darwin. He’ll just be part of the ensemble, but it’s a lovely way to introduce him to a professional stage experience. And it’s such a lovely piece of theatre because it makes people very happy yet they often leave the theatre crying.” Sons and Mothers is an entertaining yet poignant look at six men and the relationship with their mothers, whoare shown on film. The seeds of the playwere sown when Zavarce returned to Adelaide after visiting his mother in his homeland of Venezuela. “That was in 2005,” Rose explains, “and it was such an emotional experience for him. Alirio has an older brother who has been blind since infancy due to a horrible accident, so that has really affected his attitude and understanding of working with No Strings Attached. Alirio was also very moved by the company’s actors’ understanding of his own situation. “But it did take a while for the play to become a reality and was then in development for two years after that,” she adds. Sons and Mothers, which will likely tour interstate in 2014, had its premiere season at the Old Queen’s Theatre, but its forthcoming run will take place at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre. “We had built the show for the environment of Old Queen’s Theatre which, in itself, is so full of memories with its crumbling old walls,” Rose says, “but it will now be good to restage it in a more conventional theatre. We won’t be replicating exactly what we did for the premiere season and will drape the walls so it will be a more theatrical production.” A feature film of Sons and Mothers using the same title has also been made by Adelaide’s POP Pictures and will premiere as part of Adelaide Film Festival in October. “Chris Houghton (filmmaker) had approached No Strings in about 2004 to say he would really like to do something with us,” Rose says. “But it wasn’t until 2009 when we did one of the very first workshops for Sons and Mothers and from where a lot of the ideas came, that it happened. From 2010, using two cameras, everything we did was filmed. But the finished film hasn’t turned out like we thought it would. We thought it would be a documentary about the making of the play. It’s actually become a film about the sons themselves so you really get to know them. It’s very beautiful.” Sons and Mothers Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre Thursday, October 17 until Saturday, October 26