Where do I start? Last night was an absolute rollercoaster, The Life of Reilly play has been everything I wished for and more. I feel exhausted watching my own life (and I know many others saw themselves) unfold on stage.
I chose to sit on my own to watch the play, a wise move (Kelly probably would have brayed me for being a softy). I have never in my life cried that much in such a short space of time and no not because I got wrong because my cameras flash went off 3 times. I nearly pulled out the ‘do you know who I am?’ card but stopped myself just in time, i’m kidding; kind of.
It was like looking at us through a window. It is the first time I have cried for myself, felt sorry for myself and appreciated truly how hard the last few years have been for our little family. The character Joanne, Reilly’s mam portrayed us autism mamas brilliantly. Protective, fierce, determined and full of love. I felt for her and her struggle to be taken seriously.
Alison Stanley wrote The Life of Reilly incorporating some of my blog posts resulting in a brutally honest, true to life account of our lives. The format was perfect just 5 characters – Reilly, his mam Joanne, dad Ged, grandma Mary and Ged’s best friend Clarkey. Each share their own story about The Life of Reilly.
I AM the mother who will not apologise for her son, I AM the mother who once made a cake but is no effing Mary Berry, I AM the mother that reads, watches and learns. I AM the mother that buys beige food, I AM the mother who fears for the future. I just am that mother. Looking around that theatre I know that there were many others who really felt it too beacause if you are an autism parent you are that mother/father/carer too.
Tears, laughter and an overwhelming sense of being part of something extremely special is what I walked away with tonight.
For months myself, Kelly and Alison have gathered as Alphabetically Autistic, each with our own stories about autism and a passion for changing perceptions and we are clearly on the right track. Alison’s writing is outstanding and she has a talent that can literally make you laugh and cry in the space of 60 seconds.
Alison Stanley, Kris Roberts, Stephen Woods, Warren Simpson and Marce Gay made for an excellent cast and I truly believe that this play will be essential in terms of the public gaining a greater understanding.
Watch this space for more showings coming in the near future. If you would like to see the play in your area please let us know x