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Two Sisters

by Caroline Harding


     

"... a compelling and gripping black comedy ..."
"... an hour of intrigue, amusement and surprise ..."

Manchester Evening News

Nominated - Manchester Evening News Theatre Award (Best Play) :
24/7 New Writing Theatre Festival 2006

Synopsis

Dark secrets hidden in the grey mists of time are reluctantly revealed in this excellent black comedy. Set in a small village in 1880's Russia, Anya and Sonia are goaded into recollecting some things they'd rather forget from their earlier years, upon the bizarre discovery of an empty coffin in Anya's lodgings.

Anya and Sonia, now in their forties, have an easy-going relationship with one another. They seem to love each other as sisters should, and are each able to make jokes and poke fun at the other’s expense.

This is surprising as twenty-five years before, they both fell in love with the same man, Anya much more so than Sonia, but it was the older Sonia who married him and bore his child. On his untimely death soon afterwards, Anya was so distraught that she tried to end her life, and the pregnant Sonia, was quickly forced to marry again, in order to support her and her new baby.

The coffin acts as a catalyst to Anya as she recounts how, before he died, she tried to protect Sonia from discovering the truth about André when she saw him 'in delicto flagrante' with a girl from the village. She had the idea of getting rid of the problem by feeding the girl cake into which she had mixed ground-up glass. With this girl successfully despatched, their lives returned to normal until some weeks later, quite by chance, she saw André with another village girl. She adopted her successful stratagem again, only to find that both the girl and André had eaten the cake. They both died and she now reveals to Sonia that, given her love for him, it was her involvement in André’s death, not the fact that he was dead, that was the reason for her attempted suicide.

Sonia for her part, then informs Anya that she was well aware of his indiscretions, and in due to their cooling relationship, it was she, Sonia, who after they had married, had supplied the girls to him as ‘artists models’. Each is amazed at their ability to keep these secrets from each other for nearly a quarter of a century – during which time both have led less than happy lives. Can they remain friends with the memories of Andre returning to haunt them?

And the coffin? Simply left there temporarily by an undertaker friend whose business assets are about to be re-possessed.

‘Two Sisters’ was first performed in July 2006 at the Buxton Festival followed by a regional tour of the UK. Caroline Harding and Candida Gubbins (both of whom are successful theatre and TV actors) took the roles of Sonia and Anya, and the production was directed by Chris Gascoyne (best known as Peter Barlow in ‘Coronation Street’). It was nominated for two Manchester Evening News Awards at the 24/7 New Writing Festival in Manchester that year for Best Play and Best Performances.


Duration

60 mins approx

Characters

(2f)

Anya - early 40's, 'free with her favours' to many men, has a limp, drinks a lot
Sonia - mid 40's, stuck in a loveless marriage

     


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