Theatre Mirror Reviews - " 'Night, Mother"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


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entire contents copyright 2002 by Tony Annicone

" 'Night, Mother"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The student run, Growing Stage at Rhode Island College, presents the heavy drama, " 'Night, Mother", about an unhappy young woman, living with her mother, who decides to commit suicide. The mother spends the rest of the show trying to figure out why and to talk her out of it. Student director, Matt Smith directs the show beautifully, displaying an insightful look at the relationship between these two women and the ultimate choices they make. His two actresses deliver the goods in this very emotional, stunning presentation.

Matt, a college senior, is also a talented performer who played Charlie Brown. He makes the transition to director of this dramatic play with ease. His understanding of the unhappiness of the daughter and the effects it has on the mother is remarkable in a person his age. He shows how the quote, "A suicide dies once,those left behind die 1000 deaths trying to understand why..." is relevant even when the reasons are explained to the mother. She still can't comprehend why it could happen even when Jessie, her daughter explains the despair she feels, to her. The final confrontation is absolutely rivioting. It consists of a struggle, an escape, a banging on a door and the falling to the floor in horror. Thy are really breathtaking moments. His assistant director, Laura Desmarais, helps Matt with the most moving moment between the two women, when the mother collapses to the floor in tears. Marissa Dufault, the stage manager, keeps things moving backstage with the lighting and sound cues necessary for a top notch show.

Other crew members lend the added touches needed.Chris Silva composes a beautiful and haunting, original score which sets the somber mood perfectly. (Chris is a talented Providence College student who played Sir Evelyn in "Anything Goes".) Set designer, Jen Mullen under Matt's instructions, keeps the set and set pieces in black, symbolic of the death to come in the show while Cameron Whitehorn designs the lighting. Esther Zabinski supplies the costumes, Jesse McKenzie is the sound engineer and the properties artist is Nina Muzzi.

Last but not least are the two brilliant actresses who play these very demanding roles. Christin L. Goff as Jessie and Laurea Osborne as Thelma (Mama) are excellent. Christin makes you feel her utter despair through her facial expressions, her body language and solemn line delivery. Her final act has been thought out for a long time. The discussion with her mother is to try to make her understand this is Jessie's decision and nothing is going to sway her. Laurea delivers an emotional and powerful performance. The character, at first is unbelieving and can't accept it. She changes into a caring mother who can't understand the reason why. The scenes are heart wrenching especially the clawing and banging on the door. The two women have great chemistry as mother and daughter and their performances are remarkable. Brava for a job well done. So for a first rate student show, "'Night, Mother" is a must see presentation, tell them Tony sent you.

" 'Night, Mother" (till 2 February)
Helen Forman Theatre, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 456-8144

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide