Twenty years after her son’s untimely death from AIDS, Katherine (Anne Tenney, The Castle) is facing old age alone, bereft and desperate following the recent death of her husband. She fronts up unexpectedly at the New York apartment of her son’s former lover, Cal, who lives there with his new partner Wil and their six-year-old son, Bud.
Katherine still harbours the same fear, anger, disapproval and bitter prejudices she held as the unaccepting mother of a gay man, and her visit makes some attempt at coming to terms with her loss – although one wonders how they put up with her visit for so long without asking her to leave.
Her son Andre, an actor, died aged 29 of the plague that claimed so many gay men last century. Cal, a money manager, is 15 years older than his current partner, a writer. Being of an older generation, Cal has lost many more loved ones to AIDS.
Mothers and Sons is certainly indicative of a seismic change in society’s values, when a play about marriage equality can pull a sizeable crowd in the lower North Shore’s Ensemble Theatre. Issues of gender and monogamy abound in this modern day family drama that brings private lives out into the open. (MS)
Until Sunday, September 27. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli. $30-$69. Tickets & info: ensemble.com.au or (02) 9929 0644
BY MEL SOMERVILLE