'Night Mother' - Drama about suicide challenges audience

Published on Thursday, 15 May 2014 22:38 - Written by Cory McCoy Special Correspondent

When the curtains close and lights fade to black, there probably won't be a dry eye in the house after witnessing the raw emotion of “Night Mother.”

Felicity Enas, co-founder of the Actor’s Preparatory Exchange, and Hannah Morris, an instructor there, are co-starring and co-directing this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about a woman who plans to commit suicide.

APEX’s “Night Mother” will run today, Saturday and Monday and May 22 to 24

The subject matter is heart-wrenching and nearly everyone will identify with Enas as Thelma “Mama” Cates, and Morris as the daughter, Jesse.

The play begins with Jesse making a to-do list, asking for old towels and garbage bags. A moment later she nonchalantly asks her mother where her late father's pistol is kept. Mama slowly realizes something isn't quite right.

“’Night Mother” is the story of a parent who feels helpless as her child suffers from severe epilepsy and the resulting depression of long-term illness.

Enas lost her son after a 16-year long battle with epilepsy, before he passed away suddenly.

“I can't stop myself from crying because it’s not acting, because some of the things Thelma says ... I know what a seizure looks like,” said Enas. “I know what he went through … I can identify with the emotion at the end.”

There are moments in Mama's desperation that just might make audience members want to jump up and help her cope.

“You don't put on a play to shock. If you're doing that, you're not doing good plays. You're not picking the right titles and you're losing your audience,” Morris said.

Added Enas, “There should be something else, for those who want to see more substance.”

Enas and Morris hope the performance will leave the audience with a better understanding of what it’s like to deal with an ill and depressed loved one.

“What you do is challenge your actors, challenge your audience. That can create catharsis for the people watching it and sometimes it's for the actors as well. The beautiful thing about theatre is that it can be therapeutic,” Morris said. “You will never see us doing a show here just because. There’s always a motive there, to make our actors better. We are Actor's Preparatory Exchange, we come from an educational stance.”

A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas.

The APEX theater is located at the rear entrance of the Energy Building near Front and Bonner streets.

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the door or online at apextheatre20.com/tickets.