Curator Reviews

Kathy Bates

When read aloud, this play—which takes place during the course of one night in the life of a mother whose daughter wants to commit suicide—is like a poem. Although technically not a book, the journey I made with this Pulitzer Prize-winning play affected my life in a deeply personal level. When my 83-year-old father was facing a leg amputation due to diabetes, he attempted suicide. Naively, I tried to encourage him to hang on to life. He replied, “You know how I feel. You’re doing that play.” The role of the daughter, Jessie, was originally written for a dear friend, Susan Kingsley, but she never wanted to be a “Broadway star.” She wanted to stay home with her babies and her husband on their pig and tobacco farm in Kentucky. In 1984 she was killed in an automobile wreck. Marsha’s play was a major turning point in my career, but I would have given it all up, if Susan had been in the play instead of an icy road in Georgia.

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