Adapting stories gathered from interviews with people from all walks of life, Mother I (2) tells tales of mothers and charts their joys and struggles as they bring up children and juggle a day job. The original Mother I started off inspired by Grace’s own mother, and covered a wide range of stories about birth, babies and not being able to have a child. Grace then envisioned the Mother I stories to expand into a trilogy, and Mother I (2) charts the process of growth, journey and turbulence of a mother, and a final piece to be staged next year covering topics of death, coping and hoping.
Together with Catherine Ho and Hilmi Shukur, the ensemble of three, who were all trained at some point at the Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) have devised a play to share exactly what it means to be a mother in Singapore today. Partly scripted, partly devised, audience members can go into Mother I (2) expecting plenty of physical theatre alongside the very real stories. Not all of these stories are happy ones, and in her research process, Grace encountered women who had lost a child, and her interview was one of the first instances they were able to share their stories with anyone.
Speaking to the ensemble before they rehearsed at Centre 42, one of the biggest takeaways they wanted audience members to take away from the work was that they would rethink their pre-existing notions of mothers, making them take a long hard look at all the relationships in their lives once more and better treasure these familial bonds. Seeing mothers from different backgrounds alone in the various ways they choose to bring up their child is fascinating enough, but beyond that, there’s something special and common amongst us in that each and every person was birthed by a mother at some point, a woman that has been with us since our very conception.
Perhaps during the play, certain scenes or stories would trigger memories from the past, and make you think how things like simply saying ‘I love you’ used to come so easily, but as an adult, becomes surprisingly rare. Ver Theatre hopes that the universality of these themes will come through in their production, and whether they feel blessed or trapped, supported or abandoned, Mother I (2) will celebrate the women in our lives as it presents the voices of our mothers in every form.