Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Night, Mother” has been adapted into Filipino as the 50th season ender production of Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).
Written by Ian Lomogo and directed by Melvin Lee (who played Chelsea in the musical comedy “Care Divas”), the theater company hopes to tackle more intimate, emotionally complex, unsettling and provocative issues that involve the increasing complexity of modern urban life and relationships.
A taut and fluid drama by one of America’s most talented playwrights, Night Mother won the Dramatists Guild’s prestigious Hull-Warriner Award, four Tony nominations, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.
It had its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in December 1982. It opened on Broadway in March 1983, directed by Tom Moore and starring Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates; a film version, starring Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek, was released in 1986.
PETA is the first professional theater company in the Philippines to produce the dark comedy. The company’s adaptation, to be staged from February to March 2018 at the PETA-Phinma Theater, features Eugene Domingo, who is returning to the theater scene after a five-year hiatus, along with veteran actress Sherry Lara.
Domingo plays Jessie, a divorced woman suffering from epilepsy who reveals to her mother Thelma (Lara) of her plans to end her life that very evening. Over the course of 90 minutes, which happens in real time, audiences are kept glued to their seats as Thelma desperately convinces her daughter that life is still worth living.
Despite it being written and produced back in the 80s, director Lee says Night, Mother remains to be relevant today, as a thought-provoking play that touches on the universal human concerns of family relationships, isolation, alienation and loneliness.
He further notes that the play talks about issues such as conventional thinking versus new age thinking, and the questioning of the norms of the typical Filipino.