Venue: SBW Stables Theatre (Darlinghurst NSW), Sep 27 – Oct 8, 2022
Playwright: Mel Ree
Cast: Mel Ree
Images by DefinitelyDefne Photography
Mel Ree performs her own writing in Mother May We, a meditation on identity, heritage, aspiration and liberation. A vulnerable collection of thoughts, scant with autobiographical details, placing emphasis instead on the translation of deep personal feelings, into words. It is the essence of Ree’s being that emerges, from these poetic scenes, retaining for the subject a certain mystique, but leaving us a strong impression about the riveting personality we encounter.
With magnetism seeping from every pore, Ree makes an hour in her presence feel a fleeting moment. She charms and delights, with masterful control over her physicality, along with the silkiest of voices, Ree effortlessly but powerfully keeps us under her spell for the entire duration. Her presentation oscillates between humour, poignancy and eccentricity, serving up testimony from the perspective of a queer woman-of-colour on these colonised lands.
Whether flippant or sombre, the tone of Mother May We constantly morphs, but what it reveals is always and only the truth. In allowing that truth to occupy space so absolutely, Ree stands for something radical. There is a transformation that she synthesises, that we are made to be a part of, when we open ourselves to the autonomy of her storytelling. The audience is forever changed, as a result of encountering a soul, so insistent and so defiant, in the assertion of something that can only be described as the artist’s sense of authenticity.
The poetry is enhanced by an intricate sound design by Steven Khoury, who twists and turns our sensibilities, so that we connect with the various dimensions of quirkiness, that Ree brings forth so gregariously. Lights by Frankie Clarke and video by Nema Adel, mesmerise and titillate, much like the star of the show, full of surprises, and always with an underlying but distinct air of glamour.
It is perhaps the job of feminism, to wrestle with uncertainty and that which is undecided, because convenient answers have proven to only serve hegemonies that we know to rile against. In Mother May We things seem to be in flux, seeking for destinations that we discover ultimately to be further transitory points. It is our idiosyncrasies, that we should learn to honour. To cultivate a capacity for individuality in our humanity, and to resist that which demands uniformity and conformity. Feminism holds us at every inevitable occasion of chaos, when we are able to get to the truth, and it teaches us to be apprehensive, when things fall too neatly into tidy little boxes.