Hamlet in Bed Playwright & Star Michael Laurence Picks Theatre's 10 Most Interesting Mother/Child Relationships
September 23rd, 2015
by Michael Laurence
All of New York is buzzing, Michael Laurence’s Hamlet In Bed is the can’t-miss off-Broadway play of the fall.
The Rattlestick Theatre production runs through October 25 at their Waverly Place home and stars Laurence and Golden Globe nominee Annette O’Toole. Hear from the cast and creators a little bit about the gripping tale.
To keep with the theme of warped mother/son relationships, playwright and star Michael Laurence shares with BroadwayBox his 10 picks of theatre’s most interesting mother/child relationships.
Here’s my little sampling of some of the greatest-ever Mother/child plays. Just the ten that spring to mind from glancing at my bookshelves but the list could go on and on. (Most plays have a mother looming large in there somewhere, don’t they?)
Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex — the mother of all conflicted mother/son plays.
Obviously. Euripides’s Medea—I couldn’t resist. Western culture’s kindest, gentlest mom.
Ibsen’s Ghosts—All the best stories are ghost stories, in one sense or another. A fever‐dream play (literally) of a mother and son, both haunted by a dead husband/father.
O’Neill’s Long Days Journey Into Night —Morphine Mama seen through the fog.
Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf—this play isn’t at all about the relationship between a mother and her ghost of a son—except that that’s what it’s all about.
Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain — A beautiful, magical play. The sons and daughter of Act One, memory—morph into their own fathers and mother in Act Two.
Edgar Oliver’s Helen and Edgar—Anyone not familiar with Edgar Oliver’s work should seek him out. He is a treasure and a living legend of the downtown NYC theatre scene. Most of his plays feature a bizarrely beautiful modern gothic mother and son. (His early‐career monologue “Mother was a hit‐run driver” is a good jumping‐off point.)
Rumstick Road—Spaulding Gray’s reckoning with his mother’s suicide. A seminal work of American experimental theatre. Haunting and haunted. I’ve only seen the archival film and it was just so powerful—I can only imagine what it must have been like live.
Beckett’s Footfalls—One of the most powerfully enigmatic plays ever. About a daughter and the mother-in‐her-mind. The stage directions alone are riveting. As far as I’m concerned, Shakespeare and Beckett are the twin pillars of playwriting—the ultimate maximalist and the ultimate minimalist.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet— My personal favorite (obviously), and the reason I’m answering this questionnaire.
Hurry to off-Broadway's Rattlestick Theatre to see Michael Laurence's critically acclaimed 'Hamlet in Bed' before October 25.