Live and relationships Essay
Live and relationships
My mother said I never should is a play which explores the lives and relationships of four generations of women from the same family living in Manchester and London in the 20th centaury , . Through snapshots and key moments in their lives , that are not shown in chronological order. The oldest of the four women, gives up a promising carrier in teaching as a young women to marry. Her daughter Margret, grows up in Manchester through the Second World War and marries an American (much to her mothers disapproval) and becomes a typist.
She then has a child, Jackie, who is training to be an artist when she falls pregnant, with a married man. The young Jackie tries to bring up the baby (Rosie) but cannot cope so Margret takes her at a young age and growing up Rosie thinks Margret is her mum. Jackie continues her education and becomes a sleek art dealer. This is the background in which the action takes place. Every mother in this play has strong hopes and ambitions for their daughter and each daughter determined to go her own way and make her own mistakes.
In our group discussions it soon became apart that the actual plot of the play is a very controversial concept; some people believed that the plot of the play was Rosie and the secret of who her mother is and Rosie finding out her sister was in fact her mother. However other’s believed that the plot of the play was in fact women growing and their relationships with each other. I believe is it the latter because the whole play and everything that happens has a theme of relationships or women in it.
The time line is interspersed with short waste ground scenes in which the four women play together as children of different ages, some of the group felt these scenes were purely for comic value and light relieve. I think that in reality they were however much more fundamental to the play. I believe that the waist grounds scenes are the only time when we see the true characters, with out the masks that seemed to grow thicker as they grew older.
The waste ground scenes are the only scenes were the audience get to see the characters exploring their inner selves and emotions. In these scenes Doris and Margret are the ‘babies’ perhaps reflecting the repressed innocence of there upbringing. I do not believe that Rosie’s birth is the fundamental plot of the play; in fact I believe it is more of an obstacle in women’s lives in the same way that cancer, and men are.
I believe these obstacles are the subplots of the play as they affect the plot as they affect the women’s relationships but are not the story. The main theme of this play is relationships and what children inherit from their mother. Mainly female relationships, not because this play counts male relationships as unworthy (this is not a feminist play) but because the relationships between women is what this play focuses on.
I think this play taught me that as much as your mother can nag you at the end of the day it is only because they want you to achieve greater things than they did and that no matter what you do to them they will always be there for you when its possible, even if u don’t know it (Jackie and Rosie are a prime example of this) The relationships of everyone of the four women is different for example the relationship between Margret and her mother are very different to the relationship between Margret and her daughter. This play shows the audience that in really life, everyone and every relationship is different.
Another theme of this play is expectations placed on the characters by there mother or society Doris for example gave up the job she loved , being a teacher for the man she thought she loved but later on she confess that she didn’t know If she loved him at all or whether she just wanted children, Doris gave into society and she wants her child to marry an English man get her qualifications then be a house wife , insisting it is a job , however Margret breaks this expectation marrying an American and getting a job typing , she did also have Jackie though.
Margret had ambitions for Jackie to have a really good art job; however when she had Rosie although kept up with her mother’s ambitions of the job. Rosie is the only character who seems to have no expectations placed upon her; she also seems to be the happiest and freest. Another theme of the play is secrets, or rather hidden emotions . Throughout this play I couldn’t help feel that if all the characters told the truth and how they felt, they would be a lot happier.
Margret never tells Rosie and Jackie that her husband has left her, so Jackie takes Rosie away leaving Margret. Margret also lies about her illness which means her daughter is not with her when she dies . Jackie lies to Rosie about the fact that she is her mother which in the end was the worst thing to do for her and Rosie. I believe that the main characters in the play Doris, Margret, Jackie and Rosie are used as everyone sees something of the characters that they can relate to or see in themselves.
They are ordinary realistic people, and nothing that happens to them hasn’t happened to real people millions of times, that is what makes the audience so in touch with the characters emotionally, whether its Doris wishing for a better carrier, or its Jackie’s wish for the bond with her daughter she chose to give up the day she gave her away or its Rosie’s freedom and believe that she can change the world. There are no large male characters because I feel this would hide the main essence of the play which is in a sense the bond between a mother and a daughter and their heritage.
It also may be because so many plays written show women’s need and want for men, perhaps Keatley wanted to show a different side of women that is not normally portrayed. Each of the for women are a product of the mother, what there mother taught them and what society taught them and told them to be at the time. In a sense it shows how much society has changed if you compare Rosie and Doris when she was Rosie’s age, Rosie is so free in comparison.
They are each an example of the middle class women of their era, although they have grown up with the audience watching and the audience has learned lessons with them so they are in no way a stereo type of women of their time apart from maybe Rosie, who I feel is not shown in as much depth as the other characters. Therefore it shows the evolution of women, families and how far they have come. In the play the characters run through situations that every women will find her self in one day for example when Margret find out her child has been having sex.
The audience are relatively unbiased so they can watch the argument and use it to fully understand the relationships between the characters. The audience watch the characters go through problems that they may never see even their closest friends go through for example when Jackie has to give up her baby. This enables the audience to understand the dynamics of the relationships and expectations placed upon the characters perfectly. This is how Keatley uses action to convey her themes. I feel there are three key action moments of this play.
The first is when Margret finds out that her child (Jackie) has had sex and they argue. The second is when Margret confesses to her mother (Doris) that her husband has left her. And the third is when Rosie confronts Jackie about the fact that she knows she’s her mother. I feel that the key action moments of a play are personal to everyone that study’s it ,particularly a play like this as reactions to the play in our drama group was very individual and interestingly I feel that the relationships the pupils have with the women in their family affected the way the perceived the play.
I chose these as my key action moments because I felt these were the points in the play were the characters took of the mask that the had up and showed their inner emotions like in the waste ground scenes. This enabled the audience to really understand the characters and their relationships with their mothers, which is what I feel the message of the play is about.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 July 2017
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