Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Night Mother - Discussion & Response

With a partner, discuss and complete the following questions to hand in:

1. What is the essential EVENT that occurs in Night Mother? (one act plays often deal with only one essential event; two act, three act, four act or five act plays deal with two or more.)

2. Who do you consider the play's protagonist; who is the antagonist?

3. Identify the INCITING INCIDENT in the play. What event brings Jessie and Mama into the action of the play?

4. Identify the MAJOR DRAMATIC QUESTION that an audience must ask in the play?

5. What is the conflict of the play? Is this conflict the same for Jessie as it is for Mama?

6. What episodes, complications, or rising action occurs in the play? (name 3)

7. What do you consider to be the crises or dark moment of the play?

8. What would you consider to be Jessie or Mama's ENLIGHTENMENT or EPIPHANY?

9. What is the climax of the play?

10. How does the MDQ (Major Dramatic Question) resolve? Is this a satisfying ending?


Please post your personal response to the play below.

Example prompts (pick one or more to respond to):

Is the play relevant in contemporary society? What did you realize after reading this play? Would you like to act or see this play performed? What aspect about the play did you learn something from: what did you learn about playwriting from the play? Do you think the characters are realistic or well drawn? Which character do you identify with most? Etc.


pfmh said...
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hayley said...
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nisha said...

I think this play is relevant to contemporary society. I probably would go see this play if it was free mainly because I'm not a big fan of depressing plays and this was one, but other than that it was good. I think i identify the most with the mother because i could see myself in a situation like that. I wouldn't want to witness someone in the process of killing themself.

Anonymous said...

William Keller

I think that the characters are realisticly created and that it could be an accurate representation of life. However, this play bored me, which could also be an accurate representation of life, as a lot of "normal" lives -are- boring. Which made me realize after reading is, that a lot of life -is- boring and it is up to the liver to make their life lively.

Hanna Amireh said...

Which character do you identify with most?

I think I mostly identify with mama. This is because I would hate to learn that a family member (in mama's case her daughter) was planning on committing suicide. I would do everything in my power to try and stop that person from killing theirself. I would want to know why they wanted to end theri own life and I would want to know if I was a part of that reason. I would hate to think of being alone, without that person in my life and I would be terrified of dieing alone. I don't think I would be able to identify with Jessie becasue no matter how unhappy with my life I was or how sick I was I know I would not want to die alone. The thought of it right now just makes me scared to the bone. I don't know how Jessie could do it. I feel bad for mama and I can't believe Jessie would still kill herself after her mother made that one last attempt to stop her.

sheedy700 said...

The play is relevant in the contemporary society because it talk about a serious issue in society is that is commiting sucide. i realize that life is to short to be bored, we all need to live life. I would love to this play because i want to see the actors show emotion when Mother and Jess aruge.I learn that playwriting doesnt have to always be funny and happy, sometimes it can be sad. Yes, I do think the characters are realisitc because some people have problems with life and sudicial issues.

hayley said...

The play is relevant in contemporary society in a few different ways, however the way in which the events unfold in it are a little bit exaggerated and unbelievable. The ways in which it's realistic is that people do commit suicide, depend on their parents, depend on their children, get divorced, and have seizures. It's all real stuff, the only thing that a little unbelievable is that Jessie actually goes through with killing herself after all of that calm, happy talking. It's certainly strange. I realized, after reading the play, that plays really don't need to based off of too much information. A simple action or plan can carry on throughtout the enire thing, as long as new things occur as well.
I think I would like to see it performed because that way, I think the play would flow much better than it did while reading it. There were so many stage directions and implied actions that it made me want to actually see it to get the flow of it. I learned that in a tragic play particularly, you can have the characters make a mountain out of a molehill, thus extending the dialogue and causing the situation to seem more realistic and a "what would I do" thing to the audience. I do think that the characters were developed well, so much so that I began to understand Jessie's unhappiness and Mama's desperateness. They seemed so stuck in everyday actions, stuck in a state of paralysis so to say, that made me feel the rebellious emotions of Jessie and understand the pasts of both people. I definitely identify with Mama because her reaction was quite similar to what mine would be in a situation like that--helpless, hopeful, and terrified all at once.

pfmh said...

I thought that this play was rather drawn out, but it still carried a good message. I think that the point of the play was to comment on the pointlessness and the desperateness of life. The author shows this point in a very intersting way -- the conversation between Jessie and Mama is not a conversation between the two of them; while Jessie rattles on about how to do the household chores, Mama pleads desperately with her to not end her life. The justopostition between the regularity and shallowness of doing household chores and the dramatic sadness behind asking someone you love to not kill themselves really is what the author intends to show to the audience.
I think that both of the characters are very well developed, perhaps Jessie more so than Mama, but both really. The play is long enough that the author has time to develope both of thier characters. Jessie's life is rather pathetic -- her marriage is gone, and her son is always getting into trouble. Her only job in life is to stay at home and take care of her mother -- she can't really travel anywhere or hold a decent job because of her epilepsy. Mama depends on Jessie to take of her, and when Jessie threatens to end her life, it seems that Mama is very concerned about this. Mama tries several attempts to get Jessie to not kill herself, including guilt and shame. This seemed very intersting to me -- that Mama could actually bring herslf to make Jessie feel even worse in her time of need.

This play has showed me that it's possible to have only two characters in an entire play, and that the artistic value of a play doesn't have to be absurdist or over-the-top. This was the first time we'd read a realistic, or reality-based, play, and I thought it was perhaps not as entertaining as the others we read, but just as (if not more so) meaningful than the others.

Elizabeth Gombert said...

It would be extremely interesting to see this play performed. This play is particularly intriguing because it is driven soley by dialouge and not by action. The tension of the dicussion of suicide is captivating enough to hold the audiences attention. Or is it? I suppose one would have to see this play performed to find out.
What I found to be most interesting about this play was the case that Jessie made for death. As a reader, you almost seemed compelled to agree with Jessie. Death is coming for us all at some point. What difference does it really make whether we spend our time in death or roaming aimlessly through life? Jessie makes life seem truly meaningless without ever directly saying that life is meaningless. Jessie has been plagued buy seizures and a poor memory for all of her life up until the past year. This new found clarity in her existence, instead of instilling a new joy and appreciation for life, Jessie realizes the meaninglessness of her life. This makes one wonder, if Jessie has indeed been enlightened by this sudden clear-mindedness, then are the rest of us all blind to the lack of purpose and meaning in life. Are we like Mama and simply don't think about it because we are afraid or don't want to acknowledge that we are not as important as we think we are? It is odd that one would identify with Jessie as the protagonist because we are thus sympathetic to her cause, yet it is our natural intstinct to not want a character to die. The audience is thus conflicted. The characters are realistic and believable which help to enhance the meaning of the play. This play demonstrates that when so much is at stake in the play (in this case Jessie's life) a play doesn't need as much spectacle, and the heated discussion of the character can drive the plot.

zoe :) said...

Would you like to act or see this play performed?

I liked reading 'Night, Mother, but I don't think it would be anything special to see it acted out. There's not much action and therefore it wouldn't be much to look at. The only thing that was really interesting in the stage direction was how the stage would actually be set up. That might also take my focus off the dialogue, which was okay to read but after a while it would get monotonous hearing it out loud.

zoe :) said...

^^ -zoe c (hence my face)

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