Accessibly Live Off-Line Review of TWO SISTERS

Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills presents the American premier of TWO SISTERS, Gail Louw’s melodramatic play about a pair of seasoned siblings who share a few common bonds while partaking in two different paths within their lives.

The setting is a kibbutz located somewhere in the state of Israel in the latter years of the 20th century. Living in a homestead on the settlement is Rika (Sharron Shayne) and her elder sister Edith (Leda Siskind). Edith, who just celebrated her 75th birthday, has been living on the kibbutz for some time. She feels at home in spite of the political side the nation is settling upon. Rika, a few years her junior, is more geared toward her own life. She raised a daughter, and is proud of her granddaughter who turned eighteen. Rika decides to head over to the USA–New York in particular, with her granddaughter in tow for an extended stay. The granddaughter has a boyfriend that Rika isn’t necessarily pleased over, but will just tolerate him. Edith, alone for her many years, also has a gentleman in her life with an option to live with the man. Over the course of a twenty four hour period, these two family members go through their emotions. Some of these sentiments are pleasant, while a few are dark and even horrifying. But sisters are they are, they do keep each other in mind with the emotional support such family members possess.

This piece written by British bred Gail Louw, based the two characters Rika on her own mother, while her aunt (Edith) once lived on a kibbutz. She had taken these people from her background as inspiration and created a play that focus upon the two leads as family members that undergo personal sibling rivalry, rather then a pair of “old friends” that agree on things as much as they disagree over those same motions–meaning they they still hold heart toward the other! Sharron Shayne and Leda Siskind as the pair of sisters present themselves as two sprits who have existed through their high points and lower marks in life. Although their characters may be old(er) in age, they still retain their youngness in sprit and soul. Stewart J. Zully directs this one act play that adds equal parts of humor and drama, never having one topic overpowering the other. This idea presents itself as a positive concept. The two characters as imaged on stage are far removed from the kind of casting one may see in a sitcom where the “little old ladies” portrayed are ditzy, goofy in attitude, and ready for a cheap laugh!

Jeff G. Rack, Theatre 40’s resident set designer, dresses the set of Edith’s home that resembles a humble bungalow found in a older urban neighborhood stateside. It isn’t necessarily known by this writer if such a home base resembles typical living quarters found on a kibbutz located overseas. However, it is pleasing to see as a background nevertheless.

TWO SISTERS is an appealing play because it examines how family members, no matter how many years have gone by and how many episodes they are lived through, still remain honored toward one another. That is a notion not necessarily found in families in these present times, no matter what did take place or not!