Celebrating the end of their 50th Season, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) presents a Filipino adaptation of Marsha Norman’s Tony Award nominee for best play and Pulitzer Prize-winning drama ‘Night, Mother. The play stars Eugene Domingo in her homecoming to her “true love”—the theater, and veteran actress Tanghalang Pilipino’s very own Sherry Lara. The script was adapted for Philippine stage by Ian Lomongo and directed by Melvin Lee.
‘Night, Mother centers on Jessie, the character played by Eugene Domingo, and her decision to end her life that very evening. Jessie is an epileptic with a seemingly troublesome and unprofitable life. She lives with her mother, Thelma, played by the veteran actress Sherry Lara. As the story progresses, it reveals Jessie’s reasons for her decision and why she felt helpless while her mother pursues to change her daughter’s decision.
‘Night, Mother in itself is daring in its intentions. Along the story, viewers are compelled to understand how typical family issues, personal dilemmas, and even our country’s political status in today’s age may cause a person to feel helpless and depressed leading to suicide. The latter has been a controversial and sensitive issue in our society for quite some time. The play can be seen as a light nudge to the viewers to be aware and not to be afraid to discuss relevant sensitive issues.
One of the most beautiful things about watching a stage play is seeing an artist’s bare talent in delivering their piece of art. With the simplest yet very realistic dialogue, the audience is kept at the edge of their seats. In PETA’s production of ‘Night, Mother, we see how two women alone occupying the stage with nothing but the set and their dialogue are able to deliver such a powerful and thought-provoking piece. The stage set up is a realistic Filipino household which gives the viewers a vibe as if peeping through a neighbor’s window and looking into their life. The play’s adaptation to Philippine current events was truly remarkable that if the audience hadn’t known that this was an adaptation, it could be thought of as a play originally written for Filipinos by a Filipino.
On a personal note, this play made me cry like no other plays I have seen before. I was bawling my eyes out even after the cast took their final bow because I was so affected; partly because I was hoping for a different way that the story would have resolved. The play also hit my soft spot because it’s about a mother and child – and I’m so close to my mother. I couldn’t imagine the pain I’d inflict if I did to her what Jessie has done, because at least once or twice in my life – I have also thought about doing it. Perhaps once or twice, you too may have thought about suicide. Maybe you didn’t think about doing it yourself, but you may have wondered what had to be running in another person’s head to think that it was the only way out. Either way – it got us thinking.
‘Night, Mother is a wrenching drama that resonates with a mother’s love. It’s simple, intriguing, and powerful.
PETA’s ‘Night, Mother runs from February 2 to March 18, at the PETA Theater Center, located at No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City.
Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA)
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