DRAMA112 San Diego Mesa Night Mother By Marsha Norman Analysis Paper


Hi I really need a given cirumstances blueprint, timeline, and unit breakdown for the play, “Night Mother, By Marsha Norman.” It’s a final project that is due tomorrow and I really need to get a good grade on this thank you. I have attached below the format these and the pdf of the play.

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Dr. Katie Turner
Mesa Spring 2019
Given Circumstances Blueprint
(From Script Analysis for Theatre by Robert Knopf)
Continent, country City
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Social Circles
Family and Friends
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– t
Set for the New York production of ‘NIGHT },{()THE, pe!igned by Heidi Landesman.
‘NIGHT, MOTHER opened on Broadway at the John Golden
Theatre, on March 31, 1983, presented by Dann Byck, Wendell
Cherry, The Shubert Organization and Frederick M. Zollo. The
production was directed by Tom Moore, with sets and costumes by
Heidi Landesman, and lights by James F. Ingalls. Steven Beckler
was the production stage manager.The cast, in order of appearance,
was as follows:
THELMA CATES …………………… Anne Pitoniak
JESSIE CATES……………………….. Kathy Bates
‘NIGHT, MOTHER was originally produced by The American
Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts in December,
‘NIGHT, MOTHER was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for
‘NIGHT, MOTHER Copyright@
1983, Marsha Norman
All Rights Reserved
CAlTTION: Professionals and. amateurs are hereby warneLthat performance of
‘NIGHT, MOTHER is subject to payruent of a royalty. It is fully protected under the
copyright laws of the United States of America) and of -all countries covered by the
International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the
British Collll)lonwealtli), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright
Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention, and of all
countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights,
including without limitation professional/amateur stage rights, motion picture,
recitation, lecturing, public readirtgt radio broadcasting, television, video or sound
recording, all other forms of mechanical, electronic and digital reproduction,
transmission and distribution, such as CD, DVD, e Internet, private and file-sharing
netw’orks, information storage and retrieval systems, photocopying. and the rights of
translation into foreign languages are strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is placed
upon the matter of readings, permission for which must be secured from the Author’s
agent in writing.
The English language stock and amateur stage performance rights in the United States,
its territories, possessions and Canada for ‘NIGHT, MOTHER are controlled
exclusively by DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE, INC., 440 Park Avenue South, New
York, NY 10016. No professional or nonprofessional performance of the Play may be
given without obtaining in advance the written permission of DRAMATISTS PlAY
SERVICE, INC., and paying the requisite fee.
Inquiries concerning all other rights should be addressed to The Gersh Agency, 41
Madison Avenue, 33rd Floor, New York, NY 10010. Attn:John Bu=tri.
Anyone receiving permission to produce ‘NIGHT, MOTHER is required to give credit
to the Author as sole and exclusive Author of the Play on the title page of all programs
distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all instances in which
the title of the Play appears for purpoSes of advertising, publicizing or otherwise
exploiting the Play and/or a production thereof. The name of the Author must appear
on a separate line, in which no other name appears, l.mmediately beneath the title and
in size of type equal to 50% of the size of the largest, most prominent letter used for the
title of the Play. No person, firm or entity may receive. credit larger or more prominent
than that accorded the Author. The following acknowledgment must appear on the
title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Originally produted on Broadway by Dann Byck, Wendell Cherry,
The Shubert Organization and Frederick Zollo.
Original production directed by Tom Moore.
Originally produced by The American Repertory Theatre, Cambridge, MA.
JESSIE CATES -Jessie is in her late thirties or early forties,
pale and vaguely unsteady, physically. It is only in
the last year that Jessie has gained control of her
mind and body, and tonight, she is determined to
hold onto that control. She wears pants and a long
black sweater with deep pockets one of which contains a notepad and there may be a pencil behind her
ear or a pen clipped to one of the pockets of the
As a rule, Jessie doesn’t feel much like talking.
Other people have rarely found her quirky sense of
humor amusing. She has a peaceful energy on this
night, a sense of purpose, but is clearly aware of the
time passing moment by moment. Oddly enough,
Jessie has never been as communicative or as enjoyable as she is on this evening, but we must know
she has not always been this way. There is a familiarity between these two women that comes from having
lived together for a long time. There is a shorthand
to the talk and a sense of routine comfort to the way
they relate to each other physically. Naturally, there
are also routine aggravations.
THELMA CATES- Thelma isJessie’s mother, in her late fifties or early sixties. She has begun to feel her age and
so takes it easy when she can, or when it serves her
purposes to let someone help her. But she speaks,
quickly and enjoys talking. She believes that things
are what she says they ate. Her sturdiness is more a
mental quality than a physical one, finally. She is
chatty and nosy and this is her house.
The· time is the present, with the action beginning about
8:15. Clocks onstage in the kitchen and on a table in the living room should run throughout the performance and be
visible by the audience.
There will be no intermission.
The play takes place in a relatively new house built way out
a country road, with a Jiving room and connecting kitchen
and a center hall that leads off to the bedrooms. A pull cord
in the hall ceiling releases a ladder which leads to the attic.
One of the bedrooms opens directly onto the hall and its entry should be visible by everyone in the audience. It should
be, in fact, the focal point of the entire set and the lighting
should make it disappear completely at times and draw the
entire set into it at others. It is a point of both threat and
promise. It is an ordinary door that opens onto absolute
nothingness. That door is the point of all the action and the
utmost care should be given its design and construction.
The living room is cluttered with magazines and needlework
catalogues, ashtrays and candy dishes. Examples of Mama’s
needlework are everywhere-pillows, afghans and quilts,
doilies and rugs, and they are quite nice examples. The house
is more comfortable than messy, but there is quite a lot to
keep in place here. It is more personal than charming. Itis
not quaint. Under no circumstances should the set and its
dressing make a judgement about the intelligence or taste of
Jessie and Thelma. It should simply indicate that they are
very specific real people who happen to live in a particular
part of the country. Heavy accents, which would funher
distance the audience from Jessie and Thelma are also wrong.
Mama hums some odd little tune as she stretches to
reach the cupcakes in a cabinet in the kitchen. She
can’t see them, but she can foe! around for them,
and she’s eager to have one, so she’s working pretty
hard at it. This may be the most serious exercise
Mama ever gets. She finds a cupcake, the coconut
covered, raspberry and marshmallow filled kind
known as a snowball, but sees that there’s one missing from the package. She calls to jessie, who is apparently somewhere else in the house.
MAMA. (Unwrapping the cupcake.) Jessie, it’s the last
snowball, sugar. Put it on the list, O.K.? And we’re out of
Hershey bars and where’s that peanut brittle? I think maybe
Dawson’s been in it again. I ought to put a big mirror on the
refrigerator door. That’ll keep him out of my treats, won’t it?
You hear me, honey? (Then more to herself) I hate it when
the coconut falls off. Why does the coconut fall off? Uessie
enters from her bedroom, carrying a stack of newspapers.)
JESSIE. We got any old towels?
MAMA. There you are!
JESSIE. (Holding a towel that was on the stack of newspapers.) Towels you don’t want any more. (And picking up
Mama’s snowball wrapper.) How about this swimming towel
Loretta gave us? Beach towel, that’s the name of it. You want
it? (Mama shakes her head No.)
MAMA. What have you been doing in there?
JESSIE. And a big piece of plastic like a rubber sheet or
something. Garbage bags would do if there’s enough.
MAMA. Don’t go making a big mess, Jessie. It’s eight
o’clock already.
JESSIE. Maybe an old blanket or towels we got in a soap box
MAMA. I said don’t make a mess. Your hair is black
enough, hon.
JESSIE. (Continues to search the kitchen cabinets, finding
two or three more towels to add to her stack.) It’s not for my
hair, Marna. What about some old pillows anywhere or a
foam cushion out of a yard chair would be real good.
MAMA. You haven’t forgot what night it is, have you?
(Holding up her fingernails.) They’re all chipped, see? I’ve
been waiting all week, Jess. It’s Saturday night, sugar.
JESSIE. I know. I got it on the schedule.
MAMA. (Crossing to the living room.) You want me to wash
’em now or are you making your mess first? (Looking at the
snowball.) We’re out of these. Did I say that already?
JESSIE. There’s more coming tomorrow. I ordered you a
whole case.
MAMA. (Checking the TV Guide.) A whole case will go
stale, Jessie.
JESSIE. They can go in the freezer til you’re ready for them.
Where’s Daddy’s gun?
MAMA. In the attic.
JESSIE. Where in the attic? I looked your whole nap and
couldn’t find it anywhere.
MAMA. One of his shoeboxes, I think.
JESSIE. Full of shoes. I looked already.
MAMA. Well, you didn’t look good enough, then. There’s
that box from the ones he wore to the hospital. When he
died, they told me I could have them back, but I never did
like those shoes.
JESSIE. (Pulling them out of her pocket.) I found the
bullets. They were in an old milkcan.
MAMA. (As Jessie starts for the hall.) Dawson took the
shotgun, didn’t he? Hand me that basket, hon.
JESSIE. (Gets the basket for her.) Dawson better not’ve
taken that pistol.
MAMA. (Stopping her again.) Now my glasses, please.
Uessie returns to get the glasses.) I told him to take those rubber boots too, but he said they were for fishing. I told him
to take up fishing. Uessie reaches for the cleaning spray, and
cleans Mamas glasses for her.)
JESSIE. He’s just too lazy to climb up there, Mama. Or
maybe he’s just being smart. That floor’s not very steady.
MAMA. (Getting out a piece of knitting.) It’s not a floor at
all, hon, it’s a board now and then. Measure this for me. I
need six inches.
JESSIE. (As she measures.) Dawson could probably use some
of those clothes up there. Somebody should have them. You
ought to call the Salvation Army before the whole thing falls
in on you. Six inches exactly.
MAMA. It’s plenty safe! As long as you don’t go up there.
JESSIE. (Turning to go again.) I’m careful.
MAMA. What do you want the gun for, Jess?
JESSIE. (Not returning this time. Opening the ladder in the
hall.) Protection. (She steadies the ladder as Mama talks.)
MAMA. You take the TV way too serious, hon. .I’ve never
seen a criminal in my life. This is way too far to come for
what’s out here to steal. Never seen a one.
JESSIE. (Taking her first step up.) Except for Ricky.
MAMA. Ricky is mixed up. That’s not a crime.
JESSIE. Get your hands washed. I’ll be right back. And get
’em real dry. You dry your hands til I get back or it’s no go,
all right?
MAMA. I thought Dawson told you not to go up thos.e
JESSIE. (Going up.) He did.
MAMA. I don’t like the idea of a gun, Jess.
}ESSIE. (Calling down from the attic.) Which shoebox, do
you remember?
MAMA. Black.
JESSIE. The box was black?
MAMA. The shoes were black.
JESSIE. That doesn’t help much, Mother.
MAMA. I’m not trying to help, sugar. (No answer.) We
don’t have anything anybody’d want, Jessie. I mean, I don’t
even want what we got, Jessie.
JESSIE. Neither do I. Wash your hands. (Mama gets up now
and crosses to stand under the ladder.)
MAMA. You come down from there before you have a fit.
I can’t come up and get you, you know.
JESSIE. I know.
MAMA. We’ll just hand it over to ’em when they come,
how’s that? Whatever they want, the criminals.
JESSIE. That’s a good idea, Mama.
MAMA. Ricky will grow out of this and be a real fine boy,
Jess. But I have to tell you, I wouldn’t want Ricky to know
we had a gun in the house.
JESSIE. Here it is. I found it.
MAMA. It’s just something Ricky’s going through. Maybe
he’s in with some bad people. He just needs some time,
sugar. He’ll get back in school or get a job or one day you’ll
get a call and he’ll say he’s sorry for all the trouble he’s caused
and invite you out for supper someplace dressup.
JESSIE. (Coming back down the stairs now.) Don’t worry.
It’s not for him, it’s for me.
MAMA. I didn’t think you would shoot your own boy,
Jessie. I know you’ve felt like it, well, we’ve all felt like
shooting somebody, but we don’t do it. I just don’t think we
need …
JESSIE. (Interrupting.) Your hands aren’t washed. Do you
want a manicure or not?
MAMA. Yes I do, but …
JESSIE. (Crossing to the chair.) Then wash your hands afld
don’t talk to me any more about Ricky. Those two rings he
took were the last valuable things I had so now he’s started
in on other people, door to door. I hope they put him away
sometime. I’d turn him in, myself, if I knew where he was:
MAMA. You don’t mean that.
JESSIE. Every word. Wash your hands and that’s the last
time I’m telling you. (jessie sits down with the gun and starts
cleaning it, pushing the cylinder out, checking to see that the
chambers and barre! are empty, then putting some oil on a
small patch of cloth and pushing it through the barre! with
the push rod that was in the box. Mama goes to the kitchen
and washes her hands, as instructed, trying not to show her
concern about the gun.)
MAMA. I shoulda got you to bring down that milk can.
Agnes Fletcher sold hers to somebody with a flea market for
forty dollars apiece.
JESSIE. I’ll go back and get it in a minute. There’s a wagon
wheel up there too. There’s even a churn. I’ll get it all if you
MAMA. (Coming over now, taking over now.) What are you
JESSIE. The barrel has to be clean, Mama. Old powder, dust
gets in it …
MAMA. What for?
JESSIE. I told you.
MAMA. (Reaching for the gun.) And I told you, we don’t
get criminals out here.
JESSIE. (Quickly pulling it to her.) And I told you …
(Then trying to be calm.) The gun is for me.
MAMA. Well you can have itif you want. When I die, you’ll
get it all anyway.
JESSIE. I’m going to kill myself, Mama.
MAMA. (Returning to the sofo.) Very funny. Very funny.
MAMA. (Quickly, irritated.) You are not! Don’t even say
such a thing, Jessie.
. JESSIE. How would you know if I .didn’t say it? You want it
to ·he·a< surprise? You're lying there in your bed or maybe you're:just:brushing your teeth and you hear this ... noise .dowmthe hall? MA:MA. Kill yourself. JESSIE. Shont myself. In a couple. of hours. MAMA. It must be time for your medicine. JESSIE. Took it already. MAMA. Then what's the matter with you? JESSIE. Not a thing. Feel fine. MAMA. You feel fine. You're just going to kill yourself. JESSIE. Waited until I felt good enough, in fact. MAMA. Don't make jokes, Jessie. I'm too old for jokes. JESSIE. It's not a joke, Mama. (Mama watches for a moment in silence.) MAMA. That gun's no good, you know. He broke it right before he died. He dropped it in the mud one day. JESSIE. Seems 0.K. !Jessie spins the chamber, cocks the pistol and pulls the trigger. The gun is not yet loaded, so all we hear is the click, but it will definitely work. It's also obvious that jessie knows her way around a gun. Mama cannot speak.) I had Cecil's all ready in there, just in case I couldn't find this one, but I'd rather use Daddy's. MAMA. Those bullets are at least 15 years old. JESSIE. (Pulls out another box.) These are from last week. MAMA. 'Where did you get those? JESSIE. . Feed :store·. Dawson. told· me. about. MAMA. :Dawson! JESI>IE. I told him I was. worried :about·prowlers. He said he
thought it.was.ao.good ideaiHe toltlo’me what kind to ask for.
MAMAc If he had any idea …
JESSIE. He took it as a compliment. He thought I might be
taking an interest in things. He got through telling me all
about the bullets and then he said we ought to talk like this
more often.
MAMA. And where was I while this was going on?
JESSIE. On the phone with Agnes. About the milk can, I
guess. Anyway, I asked Dawson if he thought they’d send me
some bullets and he said he’s just call for me, because he
knew they’d send them if he told them to. And he was absolutely right. Here they are.
MAMA. How could he do that?
JESSIE. Just trying to help, Mama.
MAMA. And then I told you where the gun was.
JESSIE. (Smiling, enjoying this joke.) See? Everybody’s doing what they can.
MAMA. You told me it was for protection!
JESSIE. It ir! I’m still doing your nails, though. Want to try
that new Chinaberry color?
MAMA. Well, I’m calling Dawson right now. We’ll just see
what he has to say about this little stunt.
JESSIE. Dawson doesn’t have any more to do with this.
MAMA. He’s your brother.
JESSIE. And that’s all.
MAMA. (Stands up, moves toward the phone.) Dawson will
put a stop to this. Yes he will. He’ll take the gun away.
JESSIE. If you call him, I’ll just have to do it before he gets
here. Soon as you hang up the phone, I’ll just walk in the
bedroom and lock the door.
MAMA. You will not! This is crazy talk, Jessie!
JESSIE. Dawson will get here just in time to help you clean
up. Go ahead, call him. Then call the police. Then call the
funeral home. Then call Loretta and see if she’ll do your
nails. (Mama goes directly to the telephone and starts to dial,
but Jessie is fast, coming up behind her and taking the
receiver out of her hand, putting it back down. jessie, firm
and quiet.) I said No. This is private. Dawson is not invited.
MAMA. Just me.
JESSIE. I don’t want anybody else over here. Just you and
me. If Dawson comes over it’ll make me feel stupid for not
doing it ten years ago.
MAMA. I think we better call the doctor. Or how about the
ambulance. You like that one driver, I know. What’s his
name, Timmy? Get you somebody to talk to.
JESSlE. ((Joing back to her chair.) I’m through talking,
Mama. You;re it. NC. more.
MAMA. We’re just going to sit around like every other night
in the world and then you’re going to kill yourself? (Jessie
doesn’t answer.) You’ll miss. (Again, there is no response.)
You’ll just wind up a vegetable. How would you like that?
Shoot your ear off? You know what the doctor said about getting excited. You’ll cock the pistol and have a fit.
JESSIE. I think I can kill myself, Mama.
MAMA. You’re not going to kill yourself, Jessie. You’re not
even upset! (And jessie smiles, or laughs quietly, and Mama
tries a different approach.) People don’t really kill
themselves, Jessie. No, Mam, doesn’t make sense, unless
you’re retarded or deranged and you’re as normal as they
come, Jessie, for the most part. We’re all afraid to die.
JESSIE. I’m not, Mama. I’m cold all the time anyway.
MAMA. That’s ridiculous.
JESSIE. It’s exactly what I want. It’s dark and quiet.
MAMA. So is the back yard, Jessie! Close your eyes. Stuff
cotton in your ears. Take a nap! It’s quiet in your room. I’ll
leave the TV off all night.
JESSIE. So quiet I don’t know it’s quiet. So nobody can get
MAMA. You don’t know what dead is like. It might not be
quiet at all. What if it’s like an alarm clock and you can’t
wake up so .you can’t shut it off. Ever.
JESSIE. Dead is everybody and everything I ever knew, gone.
Dead is dead quiet.
MAMA. It’s a sin. You’ll go to heli.
JESSIE. Uh-huh.
MAMA. You will!
JESSIE. Jesus was a suicide, if you ask me.
MAMA. You’ll go to hell just for saying that. Jessie!
JESSIE. (Genuine surprise.) I didn’t know I thought thll,t.
MAMA. Jessie! (jessie doesn’t answer. She puts the now
loaded gun back in the box and crosses to the kitchen. But
Mama is afraid she is headed for the bedroom. Mama, in
panic.) You can’t use my towels! They’re my towels. I’ve had
them for a long time. I like my towels.
JESSIE. I asked you if you wanted that swimming towel and
you said you didn’t.
MAMA. And you can’t use your father’s gun either. It’s mine
now too. And you can’t do it in my house.
JESSIE. Oh come on.
MAMA. No. You can’t do it. I won’t let you. The house is
in my name.
JESSIE. I have to go in the bedroom and lock the door
behind me so they won’t arrest you for killing me. They’ll
probably test your hands for gunpowder anyway, but you’ll
MAMA. Not in my house!
JESSIE. If I’d known you were going to act like this, I
wouldn’t have told you.
MAMA. How am I supposed to act? Tell you to go ahead?
0.!(. by me, sugar. Might try it myself. What took you so
JESSIE. There’s just no point in fighting me over it, that’s
all. Want some coffee?
MAMA. Your birthday’s coming up, Jessie. Don’t you want
to kriow what we got you?
JESSIE. You gotme dusting powder, Loretta got me a new
housecoat, pink probably and Dawson got me new slippers,
too small, but they go with the robe, he’ll say. (Mamd·cannot
speak.) Right? (Apparently jessie is right.) Be back in a
minute. (jessie takes the gun box, puts it on top of the stack
of towels and garbage bags and takes them into her bedroom.
t . .

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Night Mother

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