Theater: `night Mother'

From May 17 to 20 at the Williamsville Hall, Dover Road. Presented by the Rock River Players. Student matinee on May 17, at 10 a.m. (admission by donation); May 18, 19 at 7:30 p.m.; May 20, 2 p.m.Tickets $10/$12 at the door

WILLIAMSVILLE — Rock River Players (RRP) invites the community to experience an important piece of theater, `night Mother by Marsha Norman, May 17 to 20 at the Williamsville.Hall.

The scene is the living room/kitchen of a small house on an isolated country road, which is shared by Jessie and her mother. Jessie's father is dead; she lives with epilepsy and is unemployable; her loveless marriage ended in divorce; her absent son is a petty thief and ne'er-do-well; her last two jobs failed and, in general, her life is stale and unprofitable. As the play begins, Jessie asks for her father's service revolver and calmly announces that she intends to kill herself. At first her mother refuses to take her seriously, but as Jessie sets about tidying the house and making lists of things to be looked after, her sense of desperate helplessness begins to build. In the end, with the inexorability of genuine tragedy, she can only stand by, stunned and unbelieving, as Jessie quietly closes and locks her bedroom door...

RRP director Sara Vitale explains: "I want to covey a very specific message that suicide is illogical, yet in extreme cases people can feel like it's the only choice. I want to present how isolating ourselves from our support systems sets us up for disaster and explore how and why depression progresses to hopelessness. The idea is to counter the glamorization of suicide kids are being exposed to on shows like 13 Reasons Why. I'm approaching this with great sensitivity to the deeply triggering issues it may bring up for our audiences." To that end the 10AM student matinee on May 17 will have an alternate ending and post-show discussion.

The RRP annual spring show features Heather Martell, an accomplished local actress, and Lisa Litchfield. Litchfield, a first time performer whose daughter played myriad leading roles in a range of works from The Crucible to Wizard of Oz with the Leland and Gray Players, has always had theater in her blood, former L&G Players' director Annie Landenberger notes. "She was a great asset as backstage ballast for countless productions and, as she watched [daughter] Alexa grow into a role, I could always sense that Lisa was priming for her own debut." And that, Vitale adds, is what the RRP is all about. "The chemistry and level of performance from these women floors me. This is why we stand by our commitment to work with people of any experience level. There is theater blood in every heart," said Vitale.

`night Mother will play at Williamsville Hall, Dover Road, Williamsville, Thursday, May 17 at 10 (student matinee with reworked ending); Friday and Saturday, May 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m.. Thursday's student-friendly matinee is open to all by donation; admission for other performances is $12; $10 for students and seniors. Tickets will be available at the door: For more information and to reserve in advance, call 802.348.7156 or write


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