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Mama and Jack Carew - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

Mama and Jack Carew

Hal Corley

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

2m, 1f

ISBN: 9780573696947

"Disturbing shenanigans. The Oedipal implications are obvious from the start in Mama and Jack Carew, where we find '60s Southern floozy Lillian sunbathing with her chubby, bookish son. 'Won't drink, won't smoke. Whose child are you?' she sa…

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Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1970s

Settings Of Play - Northern Virginia and suburban Washington, DC, with excursions to New York, Houston and Santa Monica.


Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Period Costumes


Alcohol, Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes




Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


Semifinalist, Eugene O'Neill National Playwriting Competition

In the summer of 1969, Beau Stanley's last hurrah before heading off to study architecture in college, doting Mama Lillian vows to help him finally lose his baby fat. Armed with a supply of diet pills and a food-free regimen that includes tearing down a family room wall, 3 a.m. trips to Dulles Airport and blazing, amphetamine-fueled days on the beach, mother and son spend a memorable vacation together. But Beau's weight loss isn't restless Lillian's only project, and in an unguarded moment, she reveals her just-begun affair with a travelling defense contractor, Jack Carew. Once Lillian introduces son and lover, Beau's caught in the oedipal crossfire of a covert and explosive new alliance, forced to cover his Mama's many absences from home. Over the next decade, Jack's repeated pledge to end his own loveless marriage and sweep Lillian away proves a hollow promise. As increasingly beleaguered Beau sacrifices his own independence to help his mother confront her disillusionment and finally, betrayal, parent-child roles are turned upside down. Mama and Jack Carew is a harrowing, oftentimes black-comedic portrait of an unlikely triangle.

"Disturbing shenanigans. The Oedipal implications are obvious from the start in Mama and Jack Carew, where we find '60s Southern floozy Lillian sunbathing with her chubby, bookish son. 'Won't drink, won't smoke. Whose child are you?' she says, eyeing the suntan lotion. 'Grease me up again.' Forcing teenage Beau to pop diet pills and plying him with Playboys, her mothering goes from dysfunctional to disturbing after she introduces him to her new lover, Jack. Corley's dialogue has a muscularity that recalls Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire repartee, and his characters are well-drawn and complex. There are plenty of laughs, but they punctuate darker themes. It is a play about appetites and the consequences of letting them rule one's life, and it succeeds in provoking both laughter and thought." - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic 2011

Key West Theatre Festival, Key West, Floria, June 2002, featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Martin LaPlatney and Carol Monferdini; directed by Thomas Caruso.



2m, 1f


Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

LILLIAN: 45 - 55; an unstoppable Southern house afire: raucous, ribald, and irascible; deeply unfulfilled, at times quietly ruminative, aware she's a casualty of too many regrettable choices.
BEAU: 18-29; always incisive, at first shyly self-effacing and needy, later brutally frank, possessing the survivor's wicked sense of the ridiculous that's proof positive he's his mother's son.
JACK: 45 - 55, an amiable, loquacious winner no longer quite at the top of his game; until his considerable charm gives way to deceit, he smoothly scores.

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)

Hal Corley

Hal Corley

Hal Corley is an award-winning and prolifically produced playwright. Two of Hal's plays, An Ounce of Prevention and Finding Donis Anne, have been widely performed (Seattle Repertory Theatre, Syracuse Stage, the Walnut Street Theatre, Westbeth, and by companies in Atlanta, LA, Boston, and Charlotte). Recent work includes Brush the Summer By, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Summer 2010; A Man Who Knows ... view full profile

Other Hal Corley titles:

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Marney Austin 12/14/2013 2:45 PM
I saw this play produced in Phoenix Arizona and I still think about it.  The script was very poignant and real. Very well written and kept audience attention.

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