The Magnitude of Mothertext

Osborne, Deirdre. 2019. The Magnitude of Mothertext. In: Rahila Gupta, ed. Don’t Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong. London: Oberon Books, pp. 7-34. ISBN 9781786827685 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This critical and contextualising Introduction and commentary examines Don't Wake Me: The Ballad of Nihal Armstrong as a form of writing for solo performance, a monodrama, that draws upon the legacy of the printed dramatic monologue as well as oral heritages of call and response to compositionally evoke the griot/te, confessional and epic traditions. A ‘consequentialist aesthetic’ is traceable in this work in which the self-legitimising power of writing— in creating a voice literally and literarily— is the means for holding accountable surrounding society’s role in sustaining identity distortions and prejudices against minoritised groups. The article addresses the representations of people with cerebral palsy in British theatre and examines that although disability thinking contours the work, the anthem to motherlove places it in the category of mothertext, the model which I have developed. It argues that Don’t Wake Me helps to stir up sedimented thinking about the limits of and around motherhood and the vulnerabilities of people who are minoritised and frequently voiceless in un-disabled-dominant society.

Item Type:

Book Section


monodrama, dramatic monologue, disability theatre, cerebral palsy, debility studies

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


20 November 2019Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2019 10:16

Last Modified:

19 Feb 2022 17:12


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