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'night, Mother

'night, Mother
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Biz Staff Pick!
Author: Marsha Norman
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 67
Pub. Date: 1998
ISBN-10: 0822208210
ISBN-13: 9780822208211
Cast Size: 2 female

About the Play:

Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

'night, Mother has long been a favourite of acting teachers for female monologues and female/female scenes.

'night, Mother is a full-length drama by Marsha Norman. A daughter announces to her mother that she will kill herself at the end of the evening, leading to an uneasy completion of routine tasks and a series of hopelessly ineffectual pleadings and confrontations. 'night, Mother is a fast paced, darkly comic, heart-wrenching tale of love and its limits.

'night, Mother is a riveting exploration of grief and the loss of hope. This eloquent, enthralling and ultimately shattering play explores the final hour in the life of a young woman who has decided that life is no longer worth living. The scene is the living room/kitchen of a small house on an isolated country road, which is shared by Jessie and her mother (referred to as "Mama"). Jessie's father is dead; her loveless marriage ended in divorce; her absent son is a petty thief and ne'er-do-well; her last job didn't work out and, in general, her life is stale and unprofitable. As the play begins Jessie asks for her father's service revolver and calmly announces that she intends to kill herself. At first her mother refuses to take her seriously, but as Jessie sets about tidying the house and making lists of things to be looked after, her sense of desperate helplessness begins to build. In the end, with the inexorability of genuine tragedy, she can only stand by, stunned and unbelieving, as Jessie quietly closes and locks her bedroom door and ends her profound unhappiness in one fatal, stunning and deeply disturbing moment — a moment never to be forgotten by those who have witnessed, and come to understand, her plight.

'night, Mother premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, starring Kathy Bates as Jessie and Anne Pitoniak as Mama, transferred with the same cast to Broadway in 1983 at the John Golden Theatre, where it ran for a year and achieved four Tony Award nominations. It's been a popular and a favourite play for regional, college, and community theatre productions ever since.

Cast: 2 female

What people say:

"…honest, uncompromising, lucid, penetrating, well-written, dramatic, and…unmanipulatively moving…." — New York Magazine

"Ever since I first read 'night, Mother it has filled me with the kind of exaltation I experience only in the presence of a major dramatic work...." — The New Republic

"It is sparse and concise, introspective and penetrating, powerful and uncompromising, intense and intelligent, warm and theatrical. It is THE American tragedy." — New England Entertainment Digest

"If there is such a thing as benign explosion, this play is it: it detonates with startling quietness, showering us with truth, compassion and uncompromising honesty...." — Newsweek

"A spare but lyrical dialogue, 'night, Mother probes deeply into the mother-daughter relationship while making a disturbing statement about responsibility and courage. It is as artfully designed as a sonata, rising in each dramatic movement until it arrives at its inevitable destination." — The New York Times Magazine

"Something I hadn't seen in a long time happened at 'night, Mother: The audience still sat applauding after the house lights came up, as if waiting for the cast to come round and join them." — Village Voice

"…a shattering evening… ." — New York Times

About the Playwright:

Marsha Norman is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for 'night, Mother and a Tony Award for her Broadway-musical adaptation of The Secret Garden. She is a native of Kentucky who lives in New York City and Long Island.

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