Calm Down Mother

by Megan Terry

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Topics for Further Study

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Contraception is a topic that is discussed in the last section of Terry’s play Calm Down Mother. Research the history of contraception, explaining the various types of devices used over time as well as the general acceptance of these items. Remark on the reactions to these developments as viewed by women, men, religious organizations, government, and various ethnic groups.

Create a scene between two obviously disparate characters from Terry’s play, such as Sak, the naive sister in the last part of the play, and the young prostitute Inez. Focus on a particular issue such as religion or sexuality, then write a dialogue that might ensue between the two characters. Find a partner and act out the scene in front of the class.

Write a paper about Margaret Fuller. What was her role in the feminist movement? Find reviews of her books. Research the political climate of her times. Are her beliefs still relevant today?

Read Terry’s play Keep Tightly Closed, which was often staged in a double billing with Calm Down Mother. Find three women and three men to take on the roles of these plays, only transpose Terry’s original concepts. Have the men read the lines of Calm Down Mother and the women read Keep Tightly Closed. Then direct a discussion at the end of the readings. Were there any signifi- cant contradictions in switching gender roles? What were the issues in either of the plays that could not be transposed?

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