Theatre Workshop of Owensboro Produces Pulitzer Prize Winning Play by Kentucky Playwright to Highlight Suicide Prevention Month
Theatre Workshop of Owensboro begins a milestone year with its 60th season as "the longest-running show in town." Providing opportunities for local actors to take turns in the spotlight or behind the scenes, they are planning a variety of shows for 2023-2024 that will inspire audiences to laugh, cry, and even provoke thoughtful conversation about serious issues relevant to our community.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that the reason for this designation is "to raise awareness and discuss this highly stigmatized topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help."
It is why T.W.O. has been working on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'night, Mother written by Kentucky native Marsha Norman in 1981. It was also nominated for four Tony Awards and eventually was made into a 1986 movie version starring Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek. Specek saw the play on Broadway and was so moved she began working on a screenplay with Norman.
With only two characters, this heart-breaking tale takes place over the course of an evening dealing with themes of serious mental health issues including depression and suicide. Here is a great informative trailer shared by the Daviess County Fiscal Court.
Led by the careful direction of seasoned Thespian Anne Welsh, actors Nicol Maurer, and Meredith Keller tell the story of a daughter (Jesse) and mother (Thelma) navigating Jesse's struggle with suicidal thoughts as Thelma tries to understand and convince her to change her mind. Meredith shared with me what the process has been like portraying Jesse, "It’s been a big challenge for me tackling this character just to stay a bit grounded and not get too immersed. I’ve definitely taken some mental health moments for myself to recuperate and take myself out of it."
Because of the nature of the show, it is sponsored by River Valley Behavioral Health and audiences can choose to stay after the performance for a discussion with licensed professionals regarding mental health and suicide.
'night, Mother is presented at Trinity Theatre located at 407 W. 5th Street in Owensboro. Opening with a dress rehearsal dinner show on September 7 and continuing with regular performances on September 8-10 & September 15-17. Visit theatreworkshop.org or call the box office at 270-683-5333 for tickets.
"I definitely feel the show is one that anyone who battles or knows someone who has battled mental health or suicidal thoughts should see to know they aren’t alone. and also anyone who has lost someone to that struggle as it may provide closure to their “what ifs” Meredith said. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text 988 or chat with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org as soon as possible.