I was a theater kid in high school, I know this comes as a shock to everyone (lol jk). And while I was never an actress, I did discover a love of scripts during this phase.
I would check a stack out from the library, read them, make notes, image the play come to life before me. A few of them stuck with me, including ‘night, Mother.
First, I want to clarify that I never think suicide is a good option for anyone. I’m not saying all of life is easy, but I am saying it’s worth living and there are options for help. If you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255.
‘night, Mother is a story told entirely by two women in one room. Jessie has had a rough life, everything that can go wrong has, and she comes in one day to tell Mama that she plans on killing herself later that night. Mama’s an incredible character in a tragic way. And she doesn’t believe Jessie at first, but when she does- she tries to convince Jessie not to go through with it. SPOILER: Jessie does end up shooting herself at the end of the play. We’re like 95% sure of it.
And again, I’m not glorifying or endorsing suicide. What I think is so impressive about this play is the balance Norman is able to find. It’s two women, sitting in a room, and we’re able to get the full scope of their lives. The pain, the disillusionment, betrayal, and hurt. The role the father, ex-husband, and son all played even thought they weren’t in the room.
Not to mention it could have gotten real boring real quick. It’s literally two woman staying in their room. But it’s not slow at all. The conversation takes so many turns and the drama builds the entire time.
I’m so impressed with writing, and it’s mostly dialogue, that can evoke such emotion. I haven’t seen this production put on in real life but if I can be moved by the script alone, I can only image.