This is a blog post from Desara Bosnja - the first Mother/Daughter to be involved in Gods Are Fallen And All Safety Gone
I worked with Selma on a show called 'The Rashomon Effect' (of which she directed) as part of a summer festival at the Almeida Theatre. That was the first time we worked together on a project. Selma later told me about 'Gods...' she asked me if it was something I would be interested in and if it would be something my mum would be up for doing.
I immediately jumped at the chance because of a few reasons. One of which was the play itself. The play has this weird sliding doors effect, each scene feels and sounds like it's the same scene but it really isn't. The play got powerful after every scene. I also wanted to be involved because the play was very close to Selma. I love and enjoy plays and scripts that come from what I call 'a true place' or 'a place of sincerity'. Basically something that means more and is written for more than just dramatic purposes. The last few reasons were because Selma is an artist I respect and love the work she does – so to be able to work with her again was a great opportunity. I also love that two men are playing two females – exploring the notion that if the writing is accurate it doesn't matter that the person delivering it is not gender specific to the role. Forcing the audience to be 'gender blind' –at least that was my take on it. It was powerful. The last reason was that my mother would be doing it with me.
A mother daughter relationship is something precious – at least to me; as my father passed away when I was young, so my mother plays a duplicate role in my life. My family doesn't come from any arts background and my mum knew nothing about theatre and performing. To be able to invite her and engage her with my world and my career was something special. My mum felt the same; it didn't take much to convince her to do this with me as she wanted to be a part of something I love that is very much a big part of my life.
The task we were given was very simple. We were told to be ourselves. No acting no pretending no anything, just mum and daughter on a table putting a puzzle together whilst sipping cups of tea. We were given the option to do anything we wanted to do that made us feel comfortable whether it was doing a puzzle or reading a book each or drawing whatever felt more like us.
We were invited to sit in on rehearsals – this was great as it meant we met the actors in advance and knew what the performance was. It was very comforting.
The production is so simple. My mum nor me felt uncomfortable or scared and at one point (when we were desperately trying to find this puzzle) we forgot we were even on stage. We were able to pay attention and engage with the performance whenever we wanted – if we wanted to listen we listened if we didn't, we didn't. It was a great experience to have shared with my mother. My mother loved that she could share this with me. She wanted to be involved again. She actually asked me 'is that it? Is there not another puzzle for us to do?" There was a buzz after we did it. It almost felt like a night in, but out? If that makes sense? It was so enjoyable and freeing. I won't lie and say that your heartbeat doesn't get faster the first 5 minutes you're on stage – because it does and it will! But that's what's fun about it, your mum is there with you and both your hearts are beating fast together, it's amazing!
The concept, the play, the actors and my mum made this project really special for me. I am so glad I was a part of it, it's an experience me and my mother have shared together.