I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
I just gave birth to you and raised you for fifteen years!
Withered lemon Helen,
The Incredible Ulf
And the articulate Rose
Tucked together in a tight bunker.
This show shoved snow and poetry and jokes
in my ears.
I hunkered down
As the light tightened
And the gossip fodder blossomed.
that rind of a figure curled on the sofa,
coughing, shuffling, complaining and smoking
Is Rose’s mom and they haven’t seen each other since Rose was fifteen and her little brother was five.
Her name is Helen.
She’s antsy but she doesn’t regret her choices.
She’d suffered in her role as mother
to the extent that she did a runner
with her lover Ulf
And the pair set up a new life together somewhere polar;
Meaning no daylight,
no maternity ward
and no cemetery
owing to the harsh climate.
In her mother’s absence Rose took on the responsibility of caring for her little brother. She knows what suffering is.
Ulf is a miner.
He claims to be ‘mining his own business’
But it turns out that he has been totally sticking his oar in the family dynamic.
Rose only trekked out to that remote zone
because she thought her mam had summoned her as a dying wish
But it transpired that Ulf had written the letter pretending to be Helen.
Ulf thought it reasonable to expect Helen to lie to her daughter about the nature of her feelings towards motherhood.
Helen told the truth.
Rose was honest about her feelings in response and left.
Polar Night raised questions
About responsibility, love,
Socially imposed expectations,
Life, independence and loyalty
And left it to the audience to tease out their own answers.
Emma for DRAFF
Polar Night by Nadine Flynn and Aaron Stapleton runs at The New Theatre as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival until September 23rd. Image: Aaron Stapleton
Posted: 19th September 2017