When I first heard the Wrington Drama Group were about to stage the Memory of Water I was totally confused about what it might be about. I have never heard of it before although apparently it has been performed many, many times.
It was staged over Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th of May.
We have come to expect highly accomplished performance from the Drama Group, and this was no exception. The action takes place in the bedroom of the mother of the family on the eve of her funeral. Although there is a poignant message in the play it is a comedy and it certainly lived up to both.
It centres around three sisters, Mary, Teresa and Catherine and their memories of life during their upbringing. It demonstrates the variability of the memories often demonstrated in our everyday lives. Mary, has a visit at the start of the play from the ghost of her mother, Vi. As the play continues the other two sisters join Mary and so unfolds how each of them differs in hoe they remember their childhoods. It becomes obvious that they all have different personalities and also differ in how they deal with grief, love, guilt and regret.
Vi, the mother was a glamorous woman when younger, with whom all the men of the village were enamoured. She was possibly not the best of mothers, not teaching her daughters about sex or being a woman, which culminated in Mary becoming a teenage mother.
Teresa is the eldest sister and an unhappy housewife who runs a health food supplement store with her husband Frank.
Mary is the middle child and a doctor whose five-year affair with Mike, a married doctor, is beginning to get to the end of its course.
Catherine is the youngest sister and the only sister who does not have a partner, although she seems to have had a string of partners, or so we are led to believe.
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. Catherine, a flamboyant character introduces them, one by one to a ‘joint’. This coupled with them sharing a bottle of whisky leads to some hilarious moments. They all suffer the effects of these things, and all end up in drunken stupors. Teresa, in particular cannot cope with the effects of both of these things and so deteriorates into a drunken mess.
This is a very wordy play and the whole cast must be congratulated on learning all their lines so well. Mary, ably played by Julie Plant, captured the essence of this emotionally mixed up doctor, who was clinging on to Mike, a married doctor, who it emerged was never going to leave his wife and provide Mary with the child she desperately wanted.
Catherine, played by Eleanor Cashman and she accurately came over as a brash younger sister whose life seemed to centre around drugs, alcohol and men.
Zoe Maitland-Round played Teresa and demonstrated what a wonderful actress she is. She ably showed us all aspects of Teresa’s life from frustrated housewife who found Frank, her husband from a singles advert, believing this to be the best way of finding her future partner, but both she and Frank discovered that they were not as they had described themselves, to the one who feels responsible for her mother’s Alzheimer’s care and also the arrangements for the funeral.
Adam Hall played Mike who is the doctor with whom Mary has been having a 5-year relationship. He has told Mary that his wife has ME, but during the play Mary finds a picture in a magazine of his wife in perfect health. Mike has no desire to have a child with Mary, which puts strain on their relationship. I came to the conclusion that this was never going to be a permanent arrangement.
Frank played by Michael Berkley, again demonstrated the hapless husband who was supposed to sell products in their shop, which he didn’t believe in and wasn’t an enthusiastic believer in supplements. He became more and more disgusted with Teresa’s descent into drunken hopelessness.
The play was directed by Mark Bullen, once again demonstrating his abilities as a director and the whole thing produced by John Rubidge.
Plays like this do not just happen and so, although too many to mention by name, a great deal of praise must go to the backstage people from prop making to costume design, set design, sound and lighting etc., etc,
All in all, a wonderful evenings entertainment which combined the reactions to the death of the head of a family, with the comedy of some of those reactions.
Vi, played by Liz Stallworthy, although a small part, had the final poignant speech, which portrays Alzheimer’s disease as being adrift among a series of islands of your own identity.
Trevor Parnha

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