How do our memories construct our identities? Can someone else’s memories have an impact on our life? In The Memory of Water, one of the characters states that water retains an object’s properties even after the object has been removed. Could the same be said about people in our lives? Can our parents have an influence on us even long after they have physically departed?
The stage of Chapel Off Chapel appears before us crowded with furniture, clothes, and forgotten objects. In the middle of it: a bed. In the bed, a woman. Her mother, the original inhabitant of the room, has just died. She and her two sisters are here to arrange her funeral, but have they really come together to bury their mother? Or is it her legacy what they want to overcome?
Outside, a snow storm roars, so the three sisters are trapped together in their mother’s room with two of their partners (one of them, married to someone else). Despite the desperate attempts of the two men to keep things civilized, the sisters trample on the muddy memories they share. Hell breaks loose, emotions run high, and family secrets are revealed as the three sisters bring past conflicts into present events. The result? Roaring laughter.
Written by the witty UK playwright, Shelagh Stephenson, The Memory of Water is a big hearted examination of family and memory. Through two hilarious hours, the play, directed by Richard Sarell (Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Home and Away), deftly balances moments of hilarity and sorrow. Serving as a mirror to its audience; it portrays all-too-familiar scenarios of dysfunctional family reunions that evidence our differences, but most importantly, reveal a bittersweet commonality: our past.
Lourdes Zamanillo is a Melbourne-infatuated journalist. Originally from Mexico, she loves words, travelling, and (above all) feeling surprised.
The Memory of Water runs 16–26 November 2017 at Chapel Off Chapel. Buy tickets now.
The venue is accessible.