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>‘night, Mother; Conversations on an Upcoming Revival

- Backstage with the Playwrights: Conversations with Roberta

‘night, Mother
( Promotion)
Coming to the
Royale Theatre
242 West 45th Street
NY, NY 10036

Conversations with:
Playwright: Marsha Norman
Director: Michael Mayer
Actors: Brenda Blethyn and Edie Falco

Boneau Bryan-Brown: Press Organizers
Press Event at Trattoria Dopo Teatro

Preview Performances begin October 22, 2004
Opens November 14, 2004

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 14, 2004

Marsha Norman, Playwright, won many prestigious prizes for the original 1983 production of ‘night, Mother, including the Pulitzer Prize. She has also won a Tony for The Secret Garden. Ms. Norman is VP of the Dramatists Guild of America. She has numerous credentials in additional dramas, films, and TV. Michael Mayer, Director, also directed Thoroughly Modern Millie and won the Drama Desk Award for directing this musical. In addition, he directed After the Fall and Side Man. He has numerous credentials in additional Broadway and Off-Broadway plays and films.

British born Brenda Blethyn has been seen in theatre, film, radio, and television. She has considerable experience at the Royal National Theatre in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and appeared in New York in Absent Friends at Manhattan Theatre Company. Edie Falco, who won an Emmy, Golden Globe Award, and SAG Award for her role as lead actress in The Sopranos, made her Broadway debut in Side Man and later starred in Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune. She has numerous additional credentials in theatre and film.

At this press event at Trattoria Dopo Teatro, lunch was served, and then four tables were logistically organized by Boneau Bryan-Brown, with press representatives at each table, ready to interview each of the above theatrical participants in rotating fashion. I have summarized the comments of each of the four, as they answered several questions at my press table. Some of the comments relate to the upcoming production of ‘night, Mother, and some relate to their personal and professional backgrounds. For purposes of this summary, I will only say that the play concerns one harrowing and occasionally humorous night at home with a mother (Brenda Blethyn) and daughter (Edie Falco). The central plot and ending will not be revealed, so as not to ruin your theatrical experience, when you see this 90-minute production.

Marsha Norman: “Years ago, when people had (these desperate situations) in their families, I’d have been Mama (character). These two women (characters) know each other, but they are different. The (invisible) men in the play are ‘of a different tribe’. They’re a source of sadness. We’re drawn to them and love them, but we don’t know them. I would never write this play now. I have children now. To bring this (revival) up to date, I took out the milkman, Sanka, and smoking”.

Michael Mayer: “Edie and I have been trying to work together since Side Man. We all went to get Brenda (for this show) immediately. She’s youthful with physical stamina. I was drawn to the absolute bravery of these two women (characters). Everyone would love the opportunity to bear the soul, to give the truth to someone, to risk losing a relationship. Why is (the daughter) putting her mother through this? This is a release for both of them. The pain of (plot) is indescribable, something one is unable to recover from. But, Mama will know there was nothing she could have done to stop this from happening”.

“I hope women feel empowered (from this play) and will value time with loved ones and reach intimacy. I thought the challenge (of directing) would be the darkness of it. We laugh a lot. The play has funny moments, both humor and pathos. These two (women) are passionate. They’re going to be awesome”.

Brenda Blethyn: “I fell in love with the play two years ago. We always assume we know our parents. I discovered how little I knew my mother. Here are two women on a sad journey of discovery. The revelations are so perceptive. It’s very tender and very moving. The challenge as an actor is to get in my mind what’s going on in the head of a woman, where the character is. I live in a big city. The telephones take over. We don’t communicate enough. If you have a sense of humor, you can get through (these situations)”.

“I’m not a method actor. You have to be in tune with the place where the feeling is coming from. Edie and I have not socialized (much). She has a generosity of friendship. Most of my career has been in theatre. This is my Broadway debut. I am not a sympathetic character. But, I forgive this lady, (who) had a hard life. Two and one-half weeks into rehearsal I had a Midwest dialect coach (She’s British). I love living in New York. I’m going tonight to see Reckless, but I’m here to work. In New York, we had all the props. We never have that at West End (London). Michael (Mayer) creates a great space”.

Edie Falco: “This is a dream. I have to take work as it comes. After shooting (The) Sopranos, this is relaxing. The play was brought to me by Michael Mayer. There’s a supportive atmosphere, and we begin performances next week. Michael Mayer is very classy. We work as a team. He’s very generous. This story is rich, and the play will have an effect on audiences. I hope they understand why I’m attracted to the story. The reasons are complex. It makes audiences want to connect”.

“I’m renting my body (for each performance). I’m that character for one and one-half hours, and I know it will (then) be over. There’s a reason for all bad things. Here, the mother is relieved that (her daughter’s) pain is over. I feel and think as (the daughter). I get lots of roles offered for Italian wives and mothers. One play recently was about a pill-popping freak”.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at