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The Mothers by David Calcutt

An isolated village, at a time of war. Enemy soldiers arrive. They slaughter all the menfolk. Then, they choose to settle in the village and marry the women. The war is over. Children are born. It seems the past is forgotten. But the women are plotting a terrible act of revenge…

David Calcutt’s play is a meditation on the after-effects of war and trauma. It is set in an unknown country at an unknown period. It could be happening in the past – but it equally could be happening today. It reveals the mythical patterns that may lie behind current newspaper “headlines.” It takes a “mythical” story, as way of showing how this kind of event - with its terrible cycle of trauma and revenge - has been repeated through time. It also explores the Jungian archetype of the good / bad mother.

The play unfolds with the relentlessness of a Greek tragedy; and - like a Greek tragedy - it has a “chorus” (of the “mothers”).


The MAT production featured a cast of professional actors, working with a group of young people as the “chorus.” At each venue on the tour, we rehearsed for a week with the young actors. At the end of the week, the play was performed.


We are currently preparing to stage a new play by David Calcutt, Descent (co-written with Sarah Sayeed), which also takes a “mythical” model, as a way of reflecting on the psychological legacy of modern warfare. For more details, see here.

Photo: Lisa Came in the MAT production

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