Sisters

Written by:

Rosamund Small, Based on Edith Wharton's Bunner Sisters

Cast Size:
6

Roles For:

  • Men: 1
  • Women: 5

Genre:

Adaptation
Drama

Themes:

Family
Feminism
History

Length:

80 min.

Year Written:

2018

Synopsis:

1890’s New York.

Ann and Evelina Bunner have created a little corner for themselves in their modest shop on a dingy street. But when a mysterious clockmaker comes into their lives, the bonds of sisterhood are put to the test.

This story examines family, opportunity, and the nature of sacrifice. Is it good to give up everything for those you love? Is it possible through self-sacrifice to ensure the happiness of others?

Responsible older sister Ann Bunner buys a special birthday present for her little sister Evelina: a clock. It’s beautiful. More wonderful than anything the working-class sisters could ever dream of. And after giving her sister the present, Ann can’t shake her thoughts of the man who sold her the clock. Something sensual and romantic awakes inside of her. She decides to go back and see the clockmaker again, pretending the clock needs repair. But by a twist of fate, Evelina gets there first.

Mr. Ramy, the clockmaker, becomes their friend and confidant, and along with their superstitious and gregarious neighbour, shows them Central Park, the Philharmonic Orchestra, and talks of amazing new ideas about the future and the ways of the world outside.

It becomes clear to Ann that her little sister is falling for Mr. Ramy, and that he must love Evelina, not Ann. Her resentment begins to boil over. But then… Mr. Ramy proposes to Ann. Her dreams are coming true, and yet Ann chooses the only family she’s ever known over the only man she’s ever loved. Though it hurts her, Ann persuades Mr. Ramy to marry Evelina instead. And the newly married couple move together across the country to St. Louis, leaving Ann to her dark thoughts and unspoken anger, and her fantasies of her sister’s new life without her.

But then, Evelina stops writing. First for a few weeks. Then months. And Ann must set out on a mission to discover what’s happened. She’s disappeared. Losing her money and her health and her livelihood, Ann sacrifices everything in hopes of ensuring Evelina’s return. Only to find that when her sister comes back, she’s already fatally ill.

Ann must say goodbye to her sister, and grapple with the dark and unpredictable world that she cannot control.

Characters:

Cast should be diverse. At least two of the women should be performers of colour.

ANN BUNNER: Woman. Age thirty-seven. Responsible, loving. Puts family first.

EVELINA BUNNER: Woman. Age twenty-six. Romantic, excitable, teenage-at-heart. An artistic eye for details.

MRS. MULLINS: Woman. Age fifty-five or older. Gossipy, inquisitive, superstitious, loves life.

MR. RAMY: Man. Age forty-something. Warm and sweet. Self-conscious yet gregarious. A magic man.

PUFFED SLEEVES LADY: Woman. Age thirty-seven or a bit older. Upper class. Self-assured, then later vulnerable.

NUN: Woman. Age forty or older. Kind, but firm. And above all very honest.

OTHER ENSEMBLE ROLES CAN BE DOUBLED with Puffed Sleeve Lady, Nun and sometimes sparingly Mr. Ramy and Mrs. Mullins): Server, Young Woman Customer, Train Attendant, St. Louis Landlord, St. Louis Businessman, Assistant, Ticket Collector, Young Mother, Mr. Loomis of Tiffany’s, Landlord.

BEGGAR GIRL: Played by the performer who plays Evelina.

First Produced:

Soulpepper Theatre, Toronto, 2018

Resources:

Sisters is available through the CPO Website.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.

Notes:

This story is meant to be told primarily with sound, light and acting choices; elaborate sets are not needed.

Gallery: