How I Met MY Mother
A Fascinating story of death - and life
PLOT SUMMARY “HOW I MET MY MOTHER’
I thought we buried my mother 20 years ago. How wrong was I! My father who I love dearly faked her death and arranged a sham funeral that only my sister and I attended. The penny should have dropped then. How naive we were. Its not until my father has a near fatal car crash, and decides to give all his money away to charity at a time when I owe the bank a million dollars that things start to go really wrong. And all his advice comes from a guy who used to be an art fraud turned spititual guru. Couldn’t get worse could it. Well the art con man agrees to help us find the truth that leads us to Ireland to find our “not dead mother.” When we do find her what a nightmare that turns out to be! Will we be having an Irish funeral for her this time? Barons Court Theatre, London)
Other Plays by Brenda Gottsche:
Hot Property (at Old Red Lion, London)
The Fulham Jesus (at Barons Court Theatre, London)
The Max Factor (at Barons Court Theatre, London)
Sleeping Dogs (at Star of the Sea Theatre, Sydney) more info
The Balmain Jesus (at SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney)
Almost Nearly Paradise (at Star of the Sea Theatre, Sydney)
|How I Met MY Mother   photographed by John Reeves|
Review from Weekend Notes,|
Tale of an (almost) functional family
How I Met My Mother is a drama by Australian playwright Brenda Gottsche and has been directed by Roz Riley, Factory Space Theatre's resident director. Just as the name would suggest; the drama is a compelling representation of everyday relationships in a family, keeping its audience enthralled with a mysterious big reveal of a story buried two decades ago.
The opening scene in the church, which some might say is close to how a man confesses in the house of God, sets the scene for a big reveal of skeletons in a family's closet. Switching between current events and flashback, Ben Fox (a rich property developer played by James Belfrage) having just survived a car accident confesses to Eddie Paul (played by Jeremy Chapman) a secret, that has been tormenting him lately. The secret is one that has the potential to shake his family (his two daughters and him) apart.
Ben has two daughters, an older one, Karen (played by Alison Albany) single, a successful lawyer who displays logical thinking and constraint in her demeanour (as long as she isn't under the influence of alcohol), and a younger one, Sandy, (played by Haley Sewell), who is married to Mark. Mark has had his third straight business debacle and Sandy is hoping that her father will bail out Mark financially, for the third time.
Although people live under the same roof and may be brought up with the same values, they turn out pretty different, almost always. Sisters Sandy and Karen have their own idiosyncrasies, thoughts and ideas. The first half of the play reveals more about Ben and his daughters and they talk about what they knew and remember about their mother, who is no more. They are absolutely aghast to find out that their mother didn't die 19 years ago and there is a chance she is still alive. The last known location of their mother is Ireland where she went back to connect with her artistic life.
Eddie Paul, the ex-con man, the mistaken pastor, joins this family in the quest to find their mother Janet, and uses his superior art (read con art) connections to help trace her. His comic timing and superior dialogue delivery brought much laughter to the crowd. Karen, the miss goody two shoes, manages to bring out the funny aspect of the play with her straight face.
The second half of the play is all about art, artists and Irish whisky. The extended family (a.k.a Eddie Paul included) are in search of the story from 19 years ago and they start discovering pieces of the puzzle. Their mother, Janet, is played by Deirdre Campbell. She is eccentric, an artist and distinctly Irish. Over a few scenes in the Irish pub, with Irish whisky, the family opens up to each other and agrees to disagree, just like normal families. I would definitely commend Deirdre's portrayal of the Irish artist, her perfect nonchalant and detached self and her effortless sense of humour. Although the set was quite simplistic, it ensured that the focus was on the artists and their dialogues. I do enjoy plays with an epilogue as it gives me closure and a sense of conclusion. This was one such drama. Not all stories need to be about right or wrong (because in real life it almost always isn't) but they are about perspectives and whether everyone has a chance to put forward their perspective.
Kudos to the director and the actors who kept the audience engrossed for the 2 hour drama with easy dialogue delivery and effortless acting. The drama had a good pace and gets the audience more absorbed as the mystery reveals itself. Each character had a perspective and got to share it with the rest of the family, and that's perhaps how families should be.
Writer, Brenda Gottsche starter her career as an actor and went on to become a playwright. In an article, she says she has met so many fascinating people in her life who have remarkable stories to tell. Her plays Hot Property, The Max Factor, Sleeping Dogs and Almost Nearly Paradise are based on true life stories, perhaps tweaked a little and maybe even mellowed down a bit.
|Not to give too much away, the story begins with Ben (James Belfrage) searching for inner peace after a near fatal car accident. In a church garden, he finds an intriguing confidante in Paul (Jeremy Chapman). Ben’s two daughters scoff at his newly found ‘religion’ and in the process embark on a journey that uncovers an uncomfortable secret about their family. Ben’s daughters could be two halves of the one person: they are both petty, self-absorbed and unlikeable. All Sandy (Haley Sewell), the school teacher, wants is more of her dad’s money to bail her out after her hubby’s latest bizarre get rich scheme. Barrister Karen (Alison Albany) doesn’t particularly like her job and seems unattached to anything or anyone. Their feelings and desires are only exposed in their raw encounter with Sinead O’Flynn (Deidre Campbell), an artistic spirit who seems somewhat defeated; a woman trying to reconcile past decisions with the present. Ultimately, this is a story of people with no real connections but it’s not as bleak as that…amidst the hostilities light-hearted moments shine through.|