Category Archives: St. James’s Theatre

My Mother Said I Never Should

My Mother Said I Never Should‘My Mother Said I Never Should’ by Charlotte Keatley

At the St James’s Theatre  

7th May, 2016

‘You hate dead things, not old things’

It is important to remember that in 1987, plays by female writers were rare. Nevertheless, ‘My Mother Said I Never Should’ is a strange play, with the writer, Charlotte Keatley placing herself somewhere in between social realism and the surrealism of Caryl Churchill. It is typical of its time in that this story of four generations of women in one family (from the 1940s to the 1980s) not only explores the theme of mothers and daughters, but challenges the audience with different theatrical forms. The play addresses the issues of teenage pregnancy, career prioritisation and single motherhood. It is also explores how the different generations break free from parent traditions and culture.

Very simply, Doris, born in 1900 to an unmarried mother, is instilled with a sense of dutiful subservience and self-sacrifice. Her only daughter, Margaret inherits some of those values but is freer to build a career of her own, Margaret’s daughter, Jackie, takes liberation a stage further, but, after an unplanned pregnancy in 1969, she hands her baby daughter, Rosie, to her mother to bring up as her own.

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