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'night, Mother

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  9,097 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
'night, Mother is a taut and fluid drama that addresses different emotions and special relations. By one of America's most talented playwrights, this play won the Dramatists Guild's prestigious Hull-Warriner Award, four Tony nominations, the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.

'night, Mother had its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater
Paperback, 66 pages
Published June 1st 1983 by Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (first published 1983)
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Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
'Night, Mother is Marsha Norman's play that won the Pulitzer for drama in 1983. Produced the year after Beth Henley won the Pulitzer for Crimes of the Heart, the two women ushered in a renaissance of Southern female play writing. Chilling in its message and delivered with no intermission, 'Night, Mother tells the tale of a mother and daughter grappling to stay afloat in life.

Forty-year-old Jessie Cates has battled epilepsy, mental illness, and depression for her entire life. Following her lates
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, read-2014
In my youth, I had a strange list of comfort films that I would turn to both when I was happy or feeling blue. My mom never understood why I gravitated to A Trip to Bountiful, Mrs. Brown, Remains of the Day, and my special favorite ‘night, Mother. I’m sure a part of me likes “sad” things, but I think that even as a youngster, I’ve always been attracted to simplistic beauty that is both deep and meaningful. It’s hard to marry these elements, especially in literature and film, but when I come acro ...more
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Marsha Norman examines the conflict between the will to survive and the choice not to. The original Broadway production made a star of Kathy Bates as the suicidal woman who spends an evening preparing her mother for her departure. This is a riveting script.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did a one person play of this and in high school!
Homa Sharifmousavi
عالی بود،عالی،واقعا موقع خوندنش یه جاهایی نفسم میگرفت،حرفهای یک مادر و دختر در مدت یکی دو ساعت،تلاش برای حرف زدن و درک همدیگه در زمان باقیمانده،تلاش برای توضیح دادن،یه برخورد کامل،با حرفهایی که فقط در موقعیت های خاص میتونن بین دو نفر رد و بدل بشن،حرفهایی که .جنسش برای همه آشناست و همه گوشه و کنار ذهنمون این جنس حرفها رو حداقل با یه نفر داریم
یکی از غمگینترین و زندهترین نمایشنامه هایی که تا به حال خوندم.
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Truly one of my favorite stories of all times. I cry every time I read it. I also wrote a 30-page paper on it, so I think it is fair to call me obsessed. It's a play, so you can easily read it in one sitting...just not on mother's day. :o)
Jan 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
What I would give to have seen the Kathy Bates production.
May 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terse, tense, and always timely, Marsha Norman's play reaches down into the depth of despair to reveal the stark reality of a dream lost and a life left unlived. Set in anyhome, and anytown, the play takes an unflinching look at the choice to die vs. the desire to live through the eyes of Jessie, an epileptic woman in her late 30's - whose life has remained vague, despite her wish for otherwise. Her mother, a matter-of-fact older woman, must come to face to face with the truth despite her wish t ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Years ago I saw part of the movie version of this play starring Sissy Spasek and Anne Bancroft. Just the little bit I watched has stayed with me after a good 20 years or so.

'night Mother is a play about a woman named Jessie who tells her mother she has decided to commit suicide. Jessie lists out her reasons and her mother tries to get her to change her mind. The dialog is painful and harrowing and packs quite a punch. If reading this had such an impact on me I can only imagine what it must have
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review seen here:

This is one of those plays where the acting would have to be absolutely stellar. It's all tension. It's about a woman, Jessie, who very calmly goes about her day and tells her mother she is going to kill herself. It's very dark. Norman does an excellent job creating these characters and revealing their stories. There are only two characters in this play, which as I said, heightens the tension. There is no intermission, and you absolutely
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars.
Nomadic SA Chick's Book Reviews

Jessie is tired. She's tired of her life, of disappointment, or heart-aches, and fight. Jessie wants to die. Recently divorced, Jessie has moved back in with her widowed mother, along with her wild-child teenage son. On a lonely night, Jessie shares her death plan with her mother, and there begins the play as her mother tries everything she can to get Jessie to change her mind.

This play left me speechless. Norman did a great job writing on such a heavy
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first heard of this work when I watched the movie adaptation of the play. The movie follows the script very closely, a happy rarity. Years after watching the movie, it still comes to mind very vividly, the story compelling, the characters complex, the writing superb. This is not a happy story, but it is very powerful, and leaves you thinking about the topics, and "what if?" thoughts for weeks afterward. What I wonder most is, would the protagonist have chosen differently, if she'd had access t ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated by this story since I was just a little girl . It asks a lot of pertinent questions forcing the reader to think about things we usually push away to the back of our minds although one day we will have to face them anyway. It 's also just such a major tear jerker and so suspenseful too. I do love this one. Reading it as an adult was much different for me as it was when I was 10 years of age but still, I recall the same feelings and the same questions being raised in my own ...more
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Rivka Ray
Apr 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
Maybe it is better performed....but there are better stories on suicide...
Raman Paneru
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-reads

थेलमाः तिमीलाई मृतयु कसतो हुनछ भनने नै थाहा छैन । तयो पुरै अशानत पनि हुन सकछ । मृतयु विहानी पखको घडिको अलारम जसतो र तिमी उठेर बनद गरनका लागी बिउझनै नसकने अवसथा जसतो भयो भने के गरछौ ? कहिलयै बनद गरन नसकने भयो भने के गरछौ ?
जेसीः मृतयु मैले चिनेका सबै वयकति र वसतुको अनुपसथिति हो । मृतयु शानत हुनछ ।
थेलमाः तयो पाप हो । तिमी नरक जाने छौ ।
जेसीः मलाई सोधनु हुनछ भने यशुले पनि आतमहतया गरेका थियो ।

Thelma: You don't know what dead is like. It might not be quiet at all. What if it's like an alarm clock and y
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C.V. Nór
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes, you don't know who to feel sorry for. Powerfully written, excellent dialogue, 'Night Mother is a magnificent play of redemption, with one of the most iconic and powerful endings in the history of drama, redolent of a House of Dolls. The first time I read this play, I was in High School, and I never forgot it, except for conversation details. It starts with Jessie, a woman who peacefully decides she wants to die, and who in her last day makes sure her mother is in better domestic shape ...more
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Night Mother
by Marsha Norman
4 stars
pp. 67

Night Mother by Marsha Norman, the 1983 Pulitzer winning drama is an emotionally draining play. It has only two characters, Jessie Cates, the daughter who lives with her mother, Thelma Cates. These are both simple country women, with Jessie being the quieter and less demonstrative and Thelma being more talkative.

Jessie is around 40, epileptic, divorced with a son who is turning into a criminal. She sees her life as lacking in the positive and feels that i
Neil Schleifer
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
This play presents an amazing debate on personal autonomy -- our right to do what we will with our own lives. A woman who has felt abandoned, ignored, physically ill and of no particular use to herself or her family spends one last night with her elderly mother as she prepares to kill herself. Her mother tries every method from begging to logic to try to get her to change her mind.

The play, presented in real-time, is gripping. Norman is a powerful writer. She creates great, flawed characters and
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
Man, it has been a long time since I posted anything here. Initially I couldn't remember my password.
I Bought and read this play yesterday. I saw this in 87 as a film starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft. Unfortunately it isn't available on DVD- I would love to see it again.
My Mom watched it with me, and literally couldn't sit down- she kept running out of the room like we had on a horror movie as the tension built and built in this amazingly well structured play.
That was the same way I read
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
Not for the faint of heart. This story is heartbreaking from beginning to end, but that is why it is so good. It's so well done--so uniquely done--and so accurate all throughout. The characterization of Jessie and Mama makes them real people that you can imagine fighting for survival in the real world. And that's where the pain comes from. I don't want to give any spoilers (the back of the play pulls that off pretty well), but I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who goes to the theat ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
A stunning play. Brutal in its intent and drive, gentle in its detail and humanity.

In one space, in real time, without a blink, two lives are revealed. Both the devil and god are in the details, with each character discovering more, and sometimes everything, about the other and themselves.

Credibly sad, without an unearned tear or lump in the throat in it, it sticks to its premise and more than delivers.
Radwa Mahmoud
Undoubtedly ,I can say that this play is special on many levels.
I actually finished it and loved it! , I didn't finish a thing and love it since so long.
This is the second play I study in my curriculum and love it so much! It reminded me why did I love literature.
It returned my reading passion.
I almost highlighted ALL the lines.

I want to see the play acted on the stage.

Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
"What if you are all I have and you're not enough?" A middle-aged woman tells her mother she's going to kill herself. And so on this one night, they try not to just talk, but to actually communicate. Really intense. Highly recommended.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
هیجان قرارگرفتن در یک موقعیت خاص و تلاش مادر برای منصرف کردن دخترش از خودکشی.
همه چیز در یک شب و در طول چند ساعت اتفاق میافتد. بسیاری از مسائل و دغدغههای دو کاراکتر این نمایش در خلال همین گفتوگو بیان میشود.
Rosaleen Lynch
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and could only be better if I had the opportunity to see it in the theatre. Tomwrote's review says it all.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Absolutely gut-wrenching.
Adriana Miele
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This play made me realize just how badly our world needs theater.
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2015 Reading Chal...: 'Night, Mother by Marsha Norman 3 24 Dec 23, 2015 06:32PM  
  • Crimes of the Heart
  • Ruined
  • The Heidi Chronicles: Uncommon Women and Others & Isn't It Romantic
  • The House of Blue Leaves
  • Buried Child
  • How I Learned to Drive
  • Three Tall Women
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Talley's Folly
  • Picnic
  • Stop Kiss
  • Agnes of God
  • Dinner With Friends
  • Bent
  • Company: A Musical Comedy
  • Topdog/Underdog
  • Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You & The Actor's Nightmare
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Marsha Norman is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. She received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play 'night, Mother. She wrote the book and lyrics for such Broadway musicals as The Secret Garden, for which she won a Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and The Red Shoes, as well as the libretto for the musical The Color Purple.
More about Marsha Norman...
“I'm just not having a very good time and I don't have any reason to think it'll get anything but worse. I'm tired. I'm hurt. I'm sad. I feel used.” 43 likes
“Mama, I know you used to ride the bus. Riding the bus and it’s hot and bumpy and crowded and too noisy and more than anything in the world you want to get off and the only reason in the world you don’t get off is it’s still fifty blocks from where you’re going? Well, I can get off right now if I want to, because even if I ride fifty more years and get off then, it’s the same place when I step down to it. Whenever I feel like it, I can get off. As soon as I’ve had enough, it’s my stop. I’ve had enough.” 21 likes
More quotes…