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Sister Cities: Presented by Factory Space Theatre Company - Review

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by rujihw (subscribe)
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon
Event: -
Internationally acclaimed comedy play debuts in Sydney
An internationally-acclaimed play by Colette Freedman, Sister Cities was brought to life in Sydney for the first time by Factory Space Theatre Company. Led by an entirely female cast and director, the crew behind Sister Cities showcases a complex yet relatable story of an unorthodox family.

Sister Cities
Mary and one of the daughters, Austin

Here's how the story goes (don't worry, no spoiler alert): Mary the mother, who is now close to 70 years old, has married and divorced 4 husbands. She has 4 daughters, each named after a city: Austin, Baltimore, Carolina, and Dallas (which explains the title of the play - "Sister Cities"). The estranged sisters reunited for the first time in their family home after learning about their mother's sudden death.

Sister Cities
The four sisters gather together

As the story develops, we dive deeper into the characters of the 4 sisters which define their personalities. Starting from the eldest - Carolina, who is 38 and a partner in a law firm in Seattle. While having a successful career, Carolina's personal relationship did not fare too well, as her husband recently left her for an air stewardess. While being the most clear headed amongst the sisters and the "revered" one, Carolina is often quite uptight and exudes a sense of detachment from her family.

Sister Cities
Carolina - the revered one

Then we have Austin, who is a writer (and my most favourite character). She is 34 and moved back to live with their mother 2 years ago. Her decision to move back remains questionable and the rationale will be revealed in the second half of the story. Austin is also known as the "talented" one, after becoming famous from her first best-seller book years ago.

Sister Cities
Austin - the talented one

The next in line is Dallas, who is 30 years old and happily married to her husband Peter. She works as a school teacher and has no children. Dallas claims to be a follower not a leader, and is quite conservative in her beliefs. Seemingly the "perfect" one, there is much to be revealed about Dallas' imperfect world.

Sister Cities
Dallas (on the left) - the perfect one

The youngest of all sisters is Baltimore, who is 26 and a sociology student at Harvard. She is known as the "radical" one and I could probably relate the most to her. Baltimore is bold, isn't afraid to speak her mind, and overall a carefree spirit. At 26, she is not supposed to have anything, whether it's career, family or responsibilities. However if she were to be measured against the success of her older siblings, whom by 26, one was a junior partner at a law firm, one was a best-selling book author, and another was married, Baltimore's accomplishments might not seem like much, especially after she discloses a shocking revelation to her siblings.

Sister Cities
Baltimore - the radical one

In my opinion, Sister Cities is an engaging play which touches upon controversial matters such as death, divorce, sibling rivalry and failure in an enlightening way. As the story unfolds, you will find some surprising plot twists accompanied by witty dialogues with quirky word play, so there will never be a dull moment.

For those who are keen on finding out what happens in this amazing play, there are 5 performances left in October (please see details below).

Where: Star of the Sea, Manly (corner of Collingwood St and Iluka Avenue)
When: 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, and 22nd October (performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm; Sunday matinees at 3pm)
How: Purchase tickets online here or call box office at 9439 1906
Price: $35 for adult / $28 for concession
Total running time: 2.1 hours including an interval of 15 minutes
Cast: Liz Harper, Isabel Dickson, Amy Victoria Brooks, Samantha Lee, and Ros Richards
Director: Roz Riley, the artistic director of Factory Space Theatre Company

As a bonus, this production of Sister Cities is also preceded by a special prelude play of "If it wasn't for the Nights" by Suzanne Hauser. This short Australian play tackles some of the same themes with a blend of warmth and quirky humour. The cast members of this play are Karli Gilchrist, Kurtis Wakefield and Erin Thomas.

If it wasn't for the Nights
Sam having a deep and meaningful conversation with the plumber

If it wasn't for the Nights
Sam confiding in Kay about her illness and how it makes her feel

Sister Cities
An all-star cast from both plays

Lastly, I will leave you with a fun fact. Do you know that Sister Cities is so popular worldwide that it was recently made into a Hollywood film? The movie stars Stana Katic, Jess Weixler, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Troian Bellisario as the four sisters along with Jacki Weaver as the mother. If you find yourself getting hooked with the Sister Cities franchise, why not check out the movie too?
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*rujihw was invited as a guest
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Why? An enlightening, humorous modern comedy play
When: 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, and 22nd October
Phone: 9439 1906
Where: Star of the Sea theatre
Cost: $35 for adult; $28 for concession
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