"Why did you abandon me, Mother, why?" For half a century, Maria Montessori has avoided the question asked by her illegitimate son. But the sparkling young woman who smashed glass ceilings and was introduced to a packed Carnegie Hall as "the Greatest Woman in the World" is now old and vulnerable. As she re-lives her glorious but controversial past, her son probes for answers to the mysteries of his early life. How could a woman whose life was devoted to children abandon her own? The result is cathartic for both of them. (Note: An earlier version of the play was produced in W.A. and Melbourne in 1987. The play was completely revised in 2002.)

'An entrancing ensemble piece that explores the nature of bold ambition, its obvious success and hidden pain. It's funny, wise and, at every level, extremely intelligent.'
Sarah McNeill, Subiaco Post, Nov 10, 2007

'The play is compellingly thought-provoking as it traces a life that was revolutionary, ambitious and successful with a subtext of private losses, paranoia and betrayal.'
Karen Marais, The West Australian, Nov 6, 2007

  • realistic drama
  • 115
  • 8 total
  • 4 female identifying, 4 male identifying
  • adolescence
  • 16 to 18, 18+
  • adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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EXTRACT: Signorina Montessori has not been allocated to a group. She will commence her practical work at 7pm and the rest of you are required to vacate the dissecting room by that hour. The Signorina will work on cadaver number 5, or the remains of number 5 which has already been reduced to a trunk with one leg. I'm sure there's still a liver in there somewhere. If in doubt about procedures, consult the text. Class dismissed.

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