The Depths of Night Mother by Marsha Norman

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“‘Night Mother”, by Marsha Norman, is a play that dives into the struggles of a mother and daughter. First performed in 1983, the play became a major success both in Broadway, which won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and was first performed as a play. (Spencer, pg. 1) Jessie is a middle aged woman, who is divorced, moved back in with her mother, and struggles with, what she believes, is a failed life. Thelma, Jessie’s mother, realizes that Jessie wants to commit suicide due to comments that Jessie makes. Thelma tries desperately to convince her daughter out of committing suicide; however, she is unable to convince Jessie. Jessie believes that has not reached the potential that her family wanted her to be; therefore, making her a failure in her marriage, her relationship with her son, and for her entire life. After Jessie and Thelma talk about funeral arrangements, Jessie leaves to commit suicide. The play finishes with Jessie saying, “’Night Mother.” and a shot fired, while Thelma realizes that there was nothing she could do. (Norman, pg. 18) The script of the play is very precise in how the actors are supposed to act, what the setting is supposed to look at, the tone that the actors must have when playing the role of Jessie and Thelma, the atmosphere, and the mood that the play is supposed to have.
The scripted gives every detail of what the house is to look like and states that the house should be more, “…comfortable than messy.” By having the set look like a comfortable home gives an atmosphere of what many, in the audience, would consider a homely feeling. (Norman, pg. 1) With guidance from Marsha Norman, the author of the play, she displays how she envisions the play being acted out and brought into the lives of the audience...

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Rich, Frank. "THEATER: SUICIDE TALK IN ''NIGHT MOTHER'" The New York Times. The
New York Times, 31 Mar. 1983. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.
Rosefeldt, Paul. Masterplots. 4th ed. N.p.: Salem, 2010. ACC Library Services. Web. 27 Apr.
Spencer, Jenny S. "Norman's 'night, Mother : Psycho-drama Female Identity." Norman's 'night,
Mother : Psycho-drama Female Identity. Unknown Publisher, 3 Sept. 1983. Web. 27
Apr. 2014. .

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