135: Some Mother’s Son

3 Aug

Australian writer Jill O’Callaghan has written a play about the Troubles in Ireland with a cast of Irish and Australian characters. Some Mother’s Son is engaging but left me feeling annoyed at the sentimentality and contrivance of the ending and wondering about the wisdom of an Australian writing about the Troubles when so many great Irish writers have already done so.

book and clock

Some Mother’s Son is the story of two Australian women arriving in Ballymalone in Northern Ireland. Rene and Therese are looking for revenge for the murder of Rene’s son, who was Therese’s fiancĂ©. The script is confusing as to whether they are after revenge on the actual killers or just anyone they can find who belongs to the IRA.

They stay in the home of Maura, who has registered her house as a guest house. Maura’s husband was in the Sinn Fein and was murdered by the Ulster Volunteers when their son Diarmuid was just a boy. Diarmuid is now a man and is hiding rifles for the IRA under a bed in the spare room where, you guessed it, Rene and Therese are now staying.

Some Mother’s Son gives a hint of life during the Troubles but paints its characters sketchily. I didn’t for a second believe that Rene and Therese were on a mission for vengeance, ready to kill, but there were some nice scenes between the two mothers as they let their guards down and made friends. The pivotal moment between them coming when Maura tells Rene about the shooting of her husband while their son was sitting on his knee.

MAURA: There was blood on Diarmuid … I tried to life him up … but he clung to his father screaming … There was nothing I could do … Eamon was dead.
[…]
RENE: It must have affected him?
MAURA: Dumbstruck. Hardly spoke for years. Didn’t trust anyone, not even me really. I became very protective of him. Some would say too much. You can imagine it.
RENE: Thank God there’s peace.
MAURA: Peace. I don’t know what it means. We all hope it will bring an end to the killing, but how can you forget such things? The border is drawn in blood and it’s blood that maintains it.

If it was left to the mothers there might be hope, but unfortunately there’s another generation and revenge seems to burn more brightly in their hearts than love ever did.

Publisher: Currency Press

Cast: 3F, 2M

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