Eastern Nazarene College Senior takes on intense role as Mother Courage in the school’s most recent play.
Mother Courage and Her Children is an original play written by Bertolt Brecht in the early 1940s but takes place between 1618–1648 during the Thirty Years’ War. The plot revolves around Mother Courage who is faced with an inner conflict, which makes her character so dynamic. She hates the war because of the turmoil it brings, but she makes money off the war by selling items from her wagon.
Michelle Orellana will portray the lead role as Mother Courage. This psychologically demanding role needs Orellana to become a single mother of three children trying to survive. Mother Courage does what she has to in order to keep not only herself alive, but her children as well.
The hardest part in taking on a role like Mother Courage is the emotional baggage, according to Orellana. “Having to go through tragedy with no relief” is the biggest struggle, she says. Orellana sees it as important for viewers to “think critically” during this performance because the lack of true joy in the plot. She wants viewers to look past the surface level of an unwelcoming Mother Courage rather than using their emotions to understand her. Using critical thinking skills will allow viewers to understand why Mother Courage makes the choices she does.
Orellana’s role as Mother Courage provides a new insight on what it truly means to be courageous. Mother Courage is “fierce” and “brutally honest,” yet “full of wisdom.” Orellana has been attempting to intertwine certain traits of Mother Courage into her own life, such as raising her hand in class and speaking up more often. Orellana sees Mother Courage as a “strong female character,” therefore she is willing to learn from this role.
Mother Courage and Her Children will be the first play of a new tradition: every spring the new Theater for Social Justice major will put on a play portraying a social justice issue. Mother Courage fits this narrative by examining war, being a single mother, and trying to have courage.
This play opened February 15 and will continue on February 16 and 17 at 7:30pm in Cove Fine Arts Center Auditorium. Make sure to reserve your seats; there will be limited seating due to an on-stage seating setup.