Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review of Chimera Ensemble's Sister Cities

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Sister Cities. It was by Colette Freedman, and it was directed by Ashley Neal. It was about four sisters whose mother has killed herself and they hadn't seen each other for awhile. There were secrets that some of them had kept for years and they all get revealed while they are waiting for the coroner. It is about family, identity, and mourning. I was excited to see an all-female cast, but I wish the characters were more believable. This production seemed to work on being very heartfelt and sad, but I think it might have worked better as a fast-paced dark comedy, so you didn't notice the unbelievable aspects.

Austin (Nicole Fabbri) is a one-hit-wonder writer who went on a world book tour and was now famous but then she goes and stays with her mom Mary (Rainee Denham) and stops writing. She had known secrets about her mother for a long time and was thought of as her favorite. What is interesting about her is that she can convince her sisters that she has done the right thing by drugging one of her sisters and telling the rest of them that she should be okay. There is also a flashback with her mother to try to convince the audience, but I didn't find it very convincing. I didn't feel like she was wrong, but I felt like the way her mother convinced her seemed unbelievable because how does Austin have more sympathy for the spider than her mother to begin with? (I don't want to spoil the show for you, so I can't give more information.)

Baltimore (Norma Chacon) was the youngest child and she was the classic baby of the family because she was a college student who wasn't very focused on her work and she doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life. She is very fearless because she goes up and hangs out with her dead mother in a bathtub. That is also sweet because it seems like she really does love her mother and is going to miss her a lot, and that is why she goes upstairs and hangs out with her dead mom. But even though she loves her mom, they didn't have a great relationship. She always felt kind of left out being the youngest child and all. And when she would talk about how much her mother should smell it seemed like something she had to say to make the plot keep moving, but it didn't seem very human to me.

Carolina (Katlynn Yost) was a lawyer and she kind of tried to keep the entire situation together while everyone else was joking like, "Mom! Am I right?" Everyone was like, "You are acting all lawyer-y," but I thought she was mostly acting like a reasonable human being. I think it is okay to make light of the situation, but I feel like they went a little bit too far because none of the other sisters are doing what they are supposed to do to get their mother's funeral all set up. I actually felt like Carolina was pretty reasonable overall and I liked that about her. But I'm not sure that the script wants you to like her; I think it wants you to think she is a party pooper.

Dallas (Anna Donnell) pretends to be very perfect, but she's not as perfect as everyone thought. They all thought she was a goody goody two shoes, but when the sisters find out she has a dark secret they decide it is fine if she is a jerk to them because they feel sorry for her. That made her seem very manipulative to me. She only told her secret to make everyone feel sorry for her so that she won the argument. I think the secret was supposed to make the audience feel sorry for her, but I don't feel like I felt sorry for her because it was something she had complete control over and then she used it to manipulate her sisters. I don't have any sisters, so I don't relate to the play that much. Maybe people with siblings would understand it better.

People who would like this show are people who like naming children after places, sister rivalry, and spiders. I'm looking forward to seeing what this company does with a different script.

Photos: Tori Howard

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