Dear Mother, by Mark James (play script)



Dear Mother is the journey of a boy via letters home. Follow Thomas from his pre-teen years on holiday to his accounts of warfare at the beginning of the 20th Century during the Battle of the Somme. See how his youth and the dreams of innocence are affected by the harsh reality of the trenches and horrific sights and sounds of the battlefield.

    • Paperback: 42 pages
    • Publication Date: 31 Mar 2014
    • ISBN-10: 1910094080
    • ISBN-13: 978-1910094082
    • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 0.3 cm

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SKU: M008-01 Categories: , ,


Thomas James Brook is an ordinary boy at the turn of the 20th Century. His innocence of youth is shown in the letters that he sends his Mother, during a holiday with extended family in Weymouth. They reveal how a chance meeting, the sight of a mysterious man and how games he plays, form his perceptions of the future.

Fast forward seven years and Thomas finds himself on the dock of Le Havre preparing for his journey to the front line of the Great War in 1915. Continuing to write to his beloved Mother, he tries to console her with his reasons for joining up early and shares his expectation and optimism for the future months, along with some of the sights and sounds that he encounters along the way.

After a long, harsh struggle, dug down for many months in the trenches of the Somme, frustration shows, the pain of loss is clear and Thomas’ innocence dissipates. The endless rows of muddy gullies, the constant fear of attack, the reckless attitude of the commanding forces and the loss of a childhood friend, leave a broken Thomas just wanting to be back home.

Dear Mother has been well researched and uses many first-hand accounts and experiences. It is performed on a simple stage with minimum set design over one act. The impact of the story is portrayed through the characters, requiring them to show a huge range of emotions from joy and playfulness, to heartbreak and pure fear. It offers actors a real challenge but one that will impact the audience greatly.

6 reviews for Dear Mother, by Mark James (play script)

  1. David Childs CBE: Founder National Memorial Arboretum & Author

    Mark takes the audience directly into the mind and experiences of a young man trying to tell his family what he’s witnessing and enduring. The lead character becomes not just any Tommy, but every man, not just an English soldier, but every combatant. At a time when we’re trying to understand, as well as recall the horrors of the Great War, one could do little better than to read or see Dear Mother.

  2. Ramon Tikaram: Actor ‘This Life’ ‘Game of Thrones’

    Mark James’ Great War vignettes succeed in creating a small window in time through which we witness the poignant story of a single life and its place in modern history; a keeper for the First World War library.

  3. Robert B Windsor: Artistic Director Facing Tides Theatre & Playwright

    A touching, well told story that brings to life the letters and feelings of a young boy growing up all too quickly, against the backdrop of war. This one act play is able to produce a powerful three dimensional tragedy, extremely well. All it requires is a simple, stark set and three passionate actors; lest we forget.

  4. Tracey West: Author & Broadcaster

    An ideal performance piece for schools marking the 100-year anniversary of the start of the Great War. Mark skilfully employs letters to convey his account of life on the front line. Live performances will invite audiences to appreciate it on an empathetic level as they ponder the anguish of being parted from their loved ones in a time of conflict.

  5. Mrs Harriet Hiscox

    It’s hard not to be biased as the author is a good friend of mine, but I was blown away by this play, as a short story I was completely taken away to the scene, I could easily picture the horror of the trenches, even hear the sounds! Beautifully written and left me in tears! Always a good sign if reading a story triggers such strong emotions, well done Mark!

  6. Helen Roberts

    A really well told account of a terrible time, it reminded me of family tales told to me about the trenches when I was a girl. I can imagine the live performance version of this and know it would have me in tears. A great WW1 memorabilia piece.

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