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I Killed My Mother at the Rosemary Branch Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 8th Mar 2013 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

A land called “Never” exists on the border between life and not life.

The Rosemary Branch theatre presents the UK premiere of a new intriguing play by Romanian-Hungarian András Visky – a poet, playwright and essayist and one of the most original voices of the contemporary European theatre. I Killed My Mother premiered in 2010 in Chicago and was presented in New York in 2012 as part of the La Mama Theatre programme. Since January 2011 the show has been successfully running at the Hungarian State Theatre in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 

Visky tells the story of Bernadett. Abandoned by her mother at birth, the girl grows up in state institutions which were a living hell in Ceausescu’s Romania. When Bernadett and a boy who calls himself Clip are forced to wear steel clips on their tongues for speaking disrespectfully, they become firm friends. Together they survive abandonment and cruelty by conjuring a spiritual landscape, a land called “Never” where the fantasy language Clippish is spoken. Bernadett dreams of being adopted so she can leave the orphanage forever. Meanwhile Clip is planning a strategy for their escape.

This production is not your usual linear, well-made play. The narrative jumps back and forth between different time periods and between reality and fiction, which makes it a bit difficult to follow. Visky describes how the educators – the carers in the orphanage – mistreat their wards. Neglect, cruel punishment and criminal gangs were the reality in those institutions. Yet despite her horrible experiences, Bernadett remains a deeply moral person with the capacity for love.

Directed by Natalia Gleason with great sensitivity, Orsolya Csiki and Antal Nagy convey the confusion and anguish of Bernadett and Clip, but also their love for each other and their indomitable spirit.

By Carolin Kopplin


Until 10 March

The Rosemary Branch Theatre, 2 Shepperton Road, London N1 3DT, Tuesday-Saturday 7.30pm, additional matinees Saturday and Sunday 3pm. You can book your tickets here:

Apart from the run at The Rosemary Branch Theatre, there will also be a special reading performance at the Hungarian Cultural Centre on Monday 11 March 2013. The performance will be followed by a discussion with the playwright Andras Visky.

Monday 11 March, 7pm

Hungarian Cultural Centre, 10 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NA

Tickets: £12 (For reservations, please email


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