To end its 50th season, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is producing a Filipino adaptation of Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama ‘‘Night, Mother.” The play has been adapted by Ian Lomogo, and directed by Melvin Lee, who is known for his outstanding portrayal of the role of Chelsea in PETA’s musical comedy Care Divas.
Coming from a history of presenting grand narratives, PETA hopes to tackle more intimate, emotionally complex, unsettling and provocative issues that involve the increasing complexity of urban modern life.
‘Night, Mother is a taut and fluid drama by one of America’s most talented playwrights. It 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 Feb-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 performs the role of Jessie, a divorced woman suffering from epilepsy who reveals to her mother Thelma (essayed by 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.
Director Melvin Lee says that despite it being written and produced back in the 80s, ‘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 ‘Night, Mother talks about issues such as conventional thinking versus new age thinking, and the questioning of the norms of the typical Filipino.
It also brings forth many issues that are rarely talked about, issues that are still considered taboo and shrouded in shame like family dysfunction, mental health, and suicide. PETA hopes that this production can serve as a springboard to discuss these sensitive and private issues.
PETA’s ‘Night, Mother runs from February 2 to March 18, 2018 at the PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City. For show buying and ticket inquiries, contact PETA Marketing and PR Office at0927-6035913 or TicketWorld at 891-9999 www.ticketworld.com.ph.