I like theatre that is about realistic, human things that matter.
That’s what director Gordon May told me a couple weeks ago when I asked him why he liked the script The Memory of Water. And the answer swirled through my brain repeatedly while watching the show opening night at the Village Theatre Thursday night.
The Memory of Water is about three very different sisters who come home to attend their mother’s funeral. It’s been called a tragic comedy as it evokes both laughter and sadness, sometimes in the same scene. Kelly Barnum plays Mary, the middle sister, like a pro, so it’s no surprise to learn she has just completed a Master’s Degree in Theatre. Mary is a doctor and the one who seems to be the most level headed, but her life proves just as tumultuous as the others in the end. Barnum delivers her sisterly retorts with punch and draws more than a few laughs as well as some tears in one heart-wrenching scene.
Vicki Barta does an incredible job playing the oldest sister Teresa, a guarded, prudent stress-case who believes the best remedies are natural. On the other hand the youngest sister Catherine, given great life by Carolyn Campbell, is an irrational basket case who talks a mile a minute, often about her possible ailments and pitiful love life.
The sisters argue constantly, giving the play a lot of humour, bickering about different versions of childhood memories and completely different outlooks on their life together.
Susan Evans nails her role playing the mother Vi, dropping in on Mary and revealing her true feelings about her sad relationship with her daughters. The theme of memory comes to the fore as the sisters argue about their memories and we learn how dementia took hold of the mother’s life.
Douglas Aalseth plays an incredibly believable Mike, a doctor who has been having an affair with Mary, but is the most stable and seems to accentuate the craziness of the sisters.
Andrew Brown does a bang-up job of adding some normality with his honest and funny character Frank, husband to Teresa.
Director May said he thought many people would recognize parts of their own life in the play, and that’s sure to be true. If people have dealt with dysfunctional family dynamics, failed love, drug addiction or loss, they’ll find a connection to this play. And while we all take our own musings from these productions, this one left me thinking about how important relationships are. How we only have a short time to get them right. How we should all learn to appreciate how wonderfully different we all are, whether rational, outspoken or wildly emotional.
The Memory of Water is running at The Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach until April 21. Tickets for the show are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students.
Stop by the box office in Qualicum Beach during office hours at 110 West 2nd Ave, call 250-752-3522 or email email@example.com.
Visit www.echoplayers.ca for more information.
Win two tickets to see The Memory of Water at the Village Theatre. List the first names of the three sisters in the play to firstname.lastname@example.org, with Memory Contest in the subject line by Friday, April 12. Include your name and phone number in the e-mail. Good Luck!