A Mother's Voice - The Story

 


 Mother's Voice

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The Plays

 

The Last Resort 
A Mother's Voice 
Bridges 
Jabberwocky 
Children of the Blitz 

 

A Mother's Voice tells the story of Constantia  - the mother of four daughters - whose husband, Ramone had disappeared many months before. Constantia has never troubled herself about politics and the troubles of her country, preferring the comfort of busying herself with the practical  arrangements for bringing up her family. It is as if she hopes to keep reality at bay by immersing herself in her domestic duties yet reality is beginning to force itself upon her

 

Mother and Ghost Mother from Dangerous Ground's production of A Mother's Voice

The play begins with the ghosts - spirit beings that help the dead on their way to the next life. In her dreams Constantia visits the land of the dead but she steadfastly denies the message that the ghosts try to send to her - that Ramone is dead. She calls to Ramone and urges him to come home. Calling his name and lost in a waking dream she is unaware that she is calling his name out loud drawing the attention of one of her daughters, Baptista.

We are now firmly back in reality. Coming to her senses as her other daughters enter she busies them with preparations for a meal. Whilst she is out of the room the daughters discuss not laying  their father's place at the table. On her return she dismisses their arguments and sets the place before saying a prayer for Ramone's safe return.

But her dreams are ever present. Once more Constantia conjours the vision of Ramone and urges him to return, dismissing the warnings of the ghosts. As her vision fades she lights a candle for his safe return.

The next scene takes place outside the local factory during the lunchbreak. The factory girls gossip and share the latest rumours together with little concern about deeper matters. One focus of their attentions is Ernesto - a young politically committed supervisor. They complain about their working conditions and flirt with him in equal measure. He is eager to talk with Baptista and it is quickly clear she shares some of his views - as did her father. He asks her to go with him to a political meeting and she accepts.

Meanwhile the mother remembers when she had her whole family together and slips into another dream. Yet even as she wallows in this happy memory her doubts and fears begin to press on her. As she lights another candle her convictions seems to shake a little.

Baptista has been to the meeting with Ernesto and is inspired by the passion of his speech. When he ask her for another - perhaps more romantic meeting - she teases and torments him before saying yes. They both depart energised by the moment, yet even as they do so the presence of the ghosts haunting the couple prepare us for darkness ahead.

Soon all the talk of the gossips is about Baptista and Ernesto.  They view Constantia with disdain - lost in her dreams she is failing to see the problems Baptista might face involving herself with an activist - how ever good looking. Ramone - her father - was an activist too after all.

Time passes and it is festival time. Everyone is happy and in the mood to celebrate. Despite the mood, however, Constantia can find little cheer. There is much flirting and idle chatter in the party atmosphere. Ernesto knows he must talk to Constantia and get her approval of his relationship with Baptista. before he can do so a wild dance begins which soon includes everyone there - except Constantia. As the dance finishes and Baptista and Ramone embrace, one of gossips enters calling to Constantia that she must come to the river - they have found Ramone.

Ramone's body is born aloft and layed at Constantia's feet. She embraces his battered body and must face the final truth. In her dream she bids goodbye to her husband who is finally released into the hands of the ghosts. That evening as she lights a candle to her dead husband she curses her own ignorance and self deceit.

That night Ernesto and Baptista walk together. Ernesto can hold back no longer - he asks Baptista to marry him. Taken a little by surprise Baptista hesitates. In this moment two men emerge from the shadows. Tthey call to Ernesto who acknowledges his name. Without warning they gun him down. They assault Baptista and carry her off - tormenting her by warning her of the "fun" they are about to have.

The next day all the talk is of the death of Ernesto and the disappearance of Baptista. Rumours are rife. Was it to do with drugs? No-one is certain and those that are, know the value of keeping quiet. Now Constantia is determined to not stand passively by - she is intent on finding her daughter. She hears news that she is being held at a detention centre and sets off with her eldest daughter to seek the truth.

As Constantia is pushed from office to office by faceless officials and tied up by senseless beurocracy, Baptista is tortured. No-one is willing to help Constantia. No-one knows about her daughter. Why is Constantia bothering them - doesn't she know she can get in trouble asking these questions!

Even as her mother searches for her, the life ebbs out of Baptista's body and she is taken by the ghosts.

The play ends with Constantia seeking the truth. Still intent on finding her daughter but now with the curtains of self delusion drawn from her eyes. She joins with other mothers and wives and they dance alone in protest at  what is happening. In the final moments she is joined by Ramone, Baptista and Ernesto bearing candles. As the candles are extinguished we know the search for the truth will go on.