The Memory of Water
Reviewed by David Kashimba

The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson is a wonderful mixture of opposites coming together in a synergy that will make you laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh. The play focuses on three grownup sisters who are reunited for their motherís funeral at their childhood home in north Yorkshire.

Family gatherings are a great source of comedy in drama and The Memory of Water is no exception. Stephenson originally wrote the play with the three sisters getting together for a family birthday party, but the death of Stephensonís mother inspired her to change the play giving the comedy a darker more biting quality. All three sisters are very unique and disagree about almost everything, but the constant clashing of these opposing forces adds to the drama and feeds the comic elements of the play.

Though all three sisters have equal parts, one sister stands out as a central character. Mary (Araxi Djian), the sister who was apparently favored by their mother when they were children and grew up to become a doctor, is the only sister visited by her dead motherís ghost. The play opens with Mary waking in her motherís bed and ends with her accepting things in her life that she had thought had dissolved long ago.

Indeed, a haunting biological theory weaves its way into this drama, melding science into poetry. For several years Dr. Jacques Benveniste and others have done experiments that show that water somehow retains a memory of things once dissolved in it. This beautiful image of the memory of water washes in and out of this drama like waves lapping the stageís shoreline during a full moon.

This six-character play is packed with acting talent. In addition to Djian, other well known Bay Area actors include Cynthia Bassham, Lizzie Calogers, Simon Vance, Kevin Kelleher and Phoebe Moyer. Together with director Clive Chafer, they all add many subtle touches to increase the entertainment value of this powerful drama.

For tickets or more information call (510) 436-5085.

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