Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Two Reviews

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Two Reviews

Article excerpt

The last 90 minutes of a woman's life are depicted in a gripping and remarkable drama, ""night, Mother," presented by the Jewel Box Theater, with a brilliantperformance by Kate Hammett as the daughter, Jessie, and Lorene Lewis as Thelma Cates, "mama."

The play starts in a low key, as mother and daughter make small talk in the kitchen, deciding what to do with things left by their late husband and father. Then it takes an ominous turn when Jessiestarts cleaning a pistol and declares that she is going to kill herself.

From then on even the humorous lines are hollow, as one contemplates the inevitable tragic end. Jessie is an epilectic, divorced, and has a son who is into drugs and crime. "I'm going to stop my life," she says, "and just turn it off like a radio."

Her mother begs and pleads, to no avail. Jessie has meticulously made lists for her mother, and she even tells her what dress to wear and what to say to friends at the funeral.

Hammett, who is known more for her directing of light musicals at Jewel Box, is positively superb in the role. She doesn't overact or underact, but presents exactly the right interpretation of the daughter. There are some very touching scenes between the mother and daughter.

Lewis is great as the mother, and the two keep the audience enthralled as the tragic story unfolds. The final scene is chilling, as Jessie carries out her suicide behind a door and her mother bangson the door, then calmly goes to the phone and makes the call. This is high drama, and is moving and extremely sad.

Director Charles Tweed probably didn't have too much to do with these two women, who are experienced in their craft, except to let them do their thing. But his touch and long experience in the theater is there too.

""night, Mother," by Marsha Norman, becomes a memorable theatrical experience in the hands of these marvelous actresses. And as for Kate Hammett, who is magnificent, one can only hope that she willdecide to again appear before the footlights. …

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