Meet Ash, one of the characters from the Love Works duology.
A straight friend of mine said she’d be cool with her daughter, who’s currently aged two, “if she grew up to be gay or anything else,” as it makes no difference to her whatsoever. “And it shouldn’t.”
But, isn’t there always, well let’s say often, a period of adjustment?
My mother expressed surprise, disbelief; she even thought I was joking in her confusion to understand. This was followed by shock, in fact a mighty blow! Whatever future she saw when she first held that baby close to her breast shattered in a moment… Leaving an apocalyptic vacuous residue…
There was a period of grief, for the future that will never be. And then the difficult feelings stirred, when she tried to comprehend what it all meant: being gay, having a gay son, what others would think?
Often time is a healer; often, but not always. Time allows for grieving. It allows for adjustment. Time, allows for love to heal.
I think my mother has tried to understand what having a gay son means, the way she knows best.
Parents too, of gay and bisexual children, are on a journey. They learn to experience their difficult feelings. They may talk to others, or not. They may try to become informed. They try to reason in their heads. They learn to live with it. And over time, it’s kind of OK. It’s not that bad. Bobby, is still Bobby.
Here are two dramatised parents’ perspectives as monologues interspersed together. Ravinder is a father being interviewed for a project. He talks about his daughter. Pooja is in a café with her son. Use headphones for the best quality experience.
Audio monologues: written by Carl Miller; performed by Dharmesh Patel and Rochi Rampal; Directed by Steve Johnstone and Kate Chapman; recorded and engineered by Adam McCready and produced by Bobby Tiwana. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Co-commissioned by GEM Arts.
Well, well, well Sheffield you do surprise us. Before I begin though, what a day it was – I felt like I’d hardly stopped moving all day. Jumped on a train in the morning to be whisked ‘oop north’, arrived with an hour to wander around Sheffield which was resplendent in the autumn sunshine, and then straight down to business at the theatre where we had to set up, chat about the previous show, and then perform. And then, sat back down on a train heading in the opposite direction, wondering where all the hours of the day went. Home beckoned, but certainly not because the show was anything less than brilliant.
So, details then – our illustrious writer, Carl Miller, had some notes yesterday which resulted in a bit of a shake up on some of the scenes in the piece. I often find this is a great way to keep actors on their toes and to ensure that everything is kept crisp and fresh. In fact, I think some of the script was the best I’ve ever seen it and certainly the audience responded really well.
I should also point out that, Sheffield, you provided us with our biggest audience yet (Go Sheffield!) and what a great audience it was. I counted twenty-six heads and all of them thoroughly screwed on and engaged with the piece. A very creative audience too – some poets, some playwrights and a fair few theatre-makers. The result being that we had some great discussions about the characters and how they made the audience feel. One gentleman responded to one of the characters by saying it was nice to hear parental voices and that, while we didn’t actually hear from her at the end, the mother with the tea cups (or, interestingly, bangles perhaps) represented a more positive angle where parents could be accepting – an interesting follow on from the discussions we were having at mac birmingham.
For the first time yesterday I was able to have a very in-depth discussion with one man who had come from a very similar family background to me. I enjoyed talking about how a small family can sometimes seem very restricting because the support we crave can only come from a select number of people and how, in many ways, we had grown our support network from the communities we inhabited so as to have a larger group of people we could reply on for love and acceptance. By the way, readers, this is not to decry the support I get from my family whom I love and am very grateful for, but sometimes a person needs a larger foundation and this can often come from one’s community of friends.
Interestingly in this instance, I am maybe guilty of forgetting that my family has feelings – something we talked about last night and I found very interesting. We expect so much from our families and yet how much do we really give back to them? One gentleman raised the issue that, after coming out to his mother, she refused to talk about it and, when finally pressed on the subject, responded with “why should I talk about it, nobody asks me about my life!” – a really interesting idea and one that has definitely made me stop and think about how engaged I am with my family’s troubles and issues. I would like to hope I am not all take, take, take but the conversation yesterday encouraged me to think about this.
So I think that will be enough about last night. We’re now over half-way through the run. Leicester is our next stop on Friday. And then Newcastle on Friday. I hope you’ll have a read of that post when I’ve written it. Finally made it home by 2am…good job I wasn’t working in the morning…oh wait, I did! Deep joy! Until the next time – stay fabulous!
(Robert Beck’s future projects include assisting on a commission by Transport for London to commemorate the workers that came over from the West Indies and the Caribbean in the ’40s and ’50s to work on the tubes and buses as well as assistant directing a production of Treasure Island – both with The Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre. He will also be working with Dickie Beau on a number of workshops in October. Follow him on Twitter @Rhubarb1992…I know he asks this in every post but do it anyway!)
BBC Journalist Ruchi Tandon, visited us in Birmingham last week. She spoke to one of our interviewees from last autumn and me. This piece was aired on BBC Asian programmes local radio across the regions on Sunday (22nd) just gone. It is available to listen online for another 4 days here. It starts 54.45 and ends 59.20.