of the Beast - a play

By: Leila Teitelman '15

Advising Faculty: Kenneth Prestininzi

Theatrical texts often explore motherhood, though it is rarely the central focus of the work. The intersecting issues of abortion, classism, violence, access and feminism go far beyond the topics I have included in my honors play and instead beg the question “who is a mother?” and “who has the right to define motherhood?”

The dictionary defines mothering as “to give birth or to give rise to someone or something; to treat someone with care and protection, especially exclusively so.” This definition includes women who choose to adopt children but excludes women who have to give children up for various reasons. This also excludes mothers who raise children with little care and protection. Do abusive or absent mothers not fit into society’s definition of motherhood? What about mothers who have their babies taken away against their will? Do these women not feel the jolt of motherhood, if only for a moment? 

These questions are what began my journey into my honors research. They also defined the subject and structure of my play. In this reflection, I hope to help the reader better understand my thought process; how I, as a writer, completed a theatrical text and how my research informed the work. This research, writing, and rehearsal process allowed me to question my own understandings of motherhood, investigating how expectations of mothers can both hinder and assist the individual mother/child relationship.

Related Fields: Theater