It's 8 o'clock on Saturday night in rural America. The interior of the house looks like any other stereotypical home, a wooden space complete with an antenna TV, wicker baskets and mismatched furniture. The home is comfortable and plain - and also the place of a woman's upcoming suicide.
Written by Marsha Norman, " 'night, Mother" takes place during what would be another normal, boring night in the lives of mother-daughter duo Thelma "Mama" Cates and Jessie Cates - that is, until troubled daughter Jessie reveals to Thelma that she plans to commit suicide before the night is over.
"It's a play that I have known for a long time and have wanted to do because it is such a challenge for me. After I knew about the play - but before I actually saw the play performed or read it - I watched the movie," said Susan Jackson, referring to the 1986 film adaptation. Jackson is the Averitt STARs actress who plays Thelma. "When I saw the movie, I realized that this is the play I've been wanting to do. I literally fell in love with it, and I ordered the script, so I've had this script for a long time just because I have been waiting for someone to (direct) it."
That "someone" is director Eddie Frazier, who will bring the production to the Averitt Center tonight, Friday and Saturday with the help of co-director Ashley Wade, a Statesboro High School senior, along with Summer Stock intern and stage manager Kelsey Waller and stage technician Olivia Carter.
" 'night, Mother" will play at the Whitaker Black Box Theater on West Main Street, and shows will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Due to the content, it is advised that only adults attend. In a press statement, public relations consultant Deborah Harvey said that the Averitt Center will have "resource tables on hand from various agencies that deal with suicide prevention and aftermath" to help people process the challenging material in the play.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance or at the door.
"It does have ... a little bit of dark humor every now and then, but the audience will catch themselves chuckling. If the performers are doing their jobs right, which they always do, the audience will catch themselves laughing," Frazier said. "Then they'll catch themselves, like, 'Should I be laughing at this?' "