POST: 'Mother Courage and Her Children' - a hustler, to trouble and salvation


What's it about?

Mother Courage and Her Children is about a journey of a trading family, traveling in a wagon, through times of war. 

What'd I experience?

Mother Courage walked up onstage and said "I’m selling watches, $100 a piece," and she took someone's watch and then tried to sell it. This would be the basis for her whole personality. A hustler. It’s what gets her in trouble but also what saves her. Mother Courage would find out that hustlin with the Cook would gain her a friend, as well as some extra dollars. She would find that hustlin would lead her son, Eilif, to the army. It would also lead to the death of her two young ones, Swiss Cheese and Kattrin.

Swiss Cheese died because Courage was trying to hustle the price of his death sentence until it was too late and there were already eleven bullets in his head.

Kattrin died because her mother was at the market while the soldiers came to their house and she wanted to warn her and the other villagers. Kattrin played a drum beat on top of the roof until they shot her down. The drum beat got louder until all of a sudden gunshot noises and, almost like a fast forward, and she has walked up to the shooter and is straight in front of the gun, then black out. It made me think why didn’t they black out after the gun shots. I think it's because Kattrin wasn’t afraid of the gun. She was willing to die to save lives.

"What time is it?"
"We could be stealing or selling drugs but we're doing something positive. So if you see something you like please clap and feel free to donate.

"It's time to start begging, the house lights are on. Maybe we can sing for food."
"Hello, we are coming to sing to you songs about times of hardship. We're honest God abiding people. We could be thieves and I dare say we would be eating much better but we humble ourselves to ask honestly for food..."

Wow, that parallel hit me like woah. The struggle is just the same. The beggars: Mother Courage and the cook during war time and the train performers that perform for money. It makes me wonder if we are living in a time of peace or are we living in war right now? War with our family, friends, police officers, government? Minimum wage not correlating with cost of living. We're doing bad. Welcome to America.

Mother Courage took fond of the Cook, who was known to her friend Yvette as Puffing Pete, the man who left her. When Courage found out she didn’t necessarily care, I guess she was a little disturbed but her response was “you did no harm by me.” I can’t agree more. I can’t say she’s stupid. I can’t say she’s smart. But I can say I’ve been through the same situation. It reminds me of Jhene Aiko’s song “The Worst”. The lyrics go like this:
"Everybody's like
He's no item
Please don't like em
He don't wife em
He one nights em
I never listened, No
I shoulda figured though"

Everyone around her doesn’t believe the cook is fit to invest time in and what does she do? Invests time in him. Why? He had done nothing wrong to her, yet. I’m currently dating this guy who I’ve heard ALOT about. Not necessarily good things either. I’ve heard things from friends outside of our circle as well as within. Things that happened before we even started talking, however. So, I, like Mother Courage, had to choose: Was I going to listen to friends or take a risk and enjoy the journey? I took the risk and I can’t say much except that I’m happy with my decision at this moment. Will I regret it later on and end up kicking him out of my life for a poor decision he’s made? I’m not sure. That’s the scary part.

Mother Courage ended up kicking the Cook out of her wagon because he gave her an ultimatum: move into an Inn with him without her daughter Kattrin and without the wagon OR stay. She didn’t like that he was bad mouthing Kattrin for being ugly and dumb/deaf. She kicked him out, left his stuff on the road like the badass she is. OMG, I am Mother Courage. I am ‘bout the business. And if a man tries to hinder that, he knows where to go! I don’t think Mother Courage stopped liking him, she just respected herself and her loved one enough to let him go.

But seriously, Mother Courage is goals. She don’t take shit from no one and is always hustlin. sounds like me tbh. And although she doesn’t give any guys the play, she’s human and once in awhile opens up to someone. Whether that person turns out to be an asshole or not, idk, I’m still pushing my wagon and I haven’t found out yet. But “he hasn’t done no harm by me.”

Oh, and what hit me so close to the heart was when Mother Courage sent Kattrin out to the market and she came back attacked, with blood on her face. Mother Courage basically said look at your ugliness as a gift because they don’t leave the pretty ones alive, they do more than just attack them. And I thought wow, it’s crazy. But oh so true. Life is so much easier and harder when you’re pretty. Pretty gets you friends, jobs, connections. Shallow, but honestly speaking I’ve gotten things for nothing other than the fact that I was an attractive woman. I know the way the world works, so that’s why when I go in for an interview I try to use a little makeup. Pretty is not a job requirement but it definitely gives them something to look at. It’s sad yo.

But Kattrin was obsessed with finding a man in time of peace, she was upset when the war kept on and on. Mother Courage told her: there is no point to look for men in times of war. The war lasted throughout the whole play. Is the war the daily battles we face?
“They told me not to fall in love, that shit is pointless.” -Weeknd, “Tell Your Friends”
… She died deaf, dumb, and ugly - but died with a cause because she was warning the villagers about the attack… Maybe she didn’t need a husband to complete her. She had different aspirations.

It ended with Mother Courage dragging her wagon by herself across the stage, tiredly. When the cast came out for bows, it was so heartfelt. They understood it. They understood poverty and oppression, but how Mother Courage feeds off of the times when people are in need. Mother Courage still in her bows looked like she had went through the war. It left chills in my bones.


Want to see it?

$20 Student Rush

Mother Courage and Her Children
Classic Stage Company
thru Jan. 24