One of my hobbies is stage lighting and I was asked by Woobury Interesting Little Theatre (WILT) to light their performance of the award winning “Memories of Water” by Shelagh Stephenson performed at Woodbury Village Hall in East Devon.
The light plot required two light two main scenarios. A normal bedroom scene, ….
and then a second plot to provide a ghostly hue when the dead mother appeared to one of her daughters on stage.
Three sisters; Teresa, Mary and Catherine, come together before their mother’s celebration that she is dead, each haunted by their own demons; in which the play focuses more on how each sister deals with the death and how it directly affects them. The three each have different memories of the same events, causing constant bickering about whose memories are true. As the three women get together after years of separation, all their hidden lies and self-betrayals are about to reach the surface.
A theme of the play is, eponymously, memory. The sisters’ memories interact with each other, and show that despite synchronicites of time and place they cannot agree upon one unifying experience. This is echoed in Vi’s final speech, which portrays Alzheimer’s disease as being adrift among a series of islands of your own identity. The sisters drift around their own islands of memory, unable to agree on one particular point, and yet are unified by their familial bond (Vi comments that “some things stay in your bones”).
The play exhibits the trinities of time, place and character present in a tragedy, as the play seems to take place at one time, in one space and without change in the characters’ outlooks. However, because the comedy here is so often interspersed with the tragic it may be said to be a tragic-comedy.
The play was performed for 2 nights on 25th and 26th June 2011.
In 2002 the play was adapted into a film called “Before you Go” starring Julie Waters, John Hannah & Joanne Whalley
Vi (dead mother) – Val Ardnt
Teresa – Linda Cameron
Mary – Norma Payne
Catherine – Noreen Collins
Frank – Phil Slater
Mike – Charlie Collins
Directed by Val Ardnt
Stage Managers – Peter Payne & Gordon Cameron
Lighting & Sound – Alan Pewsey