What is reality? That is essentially the overall question that this play asks. As twin sisters on different sides of the world talk to, and manipulate, each other, it is clear that their recollections of the same childhood are remarkably different. What’s more, their whole lives have been shaped by their feelings, Lucy retreating to the other side of the world and discovering Buddhism, Andromeda studying psychology and becoming progressively angrier.
Denise Despeyroux’s complex script is fast-paced and funny, with some touching moments. It is performed by Maite Jáuregui (who plays both sisters-Andromeda live and Lucy via pre-recorded video) with huge expressiveness, the switches of emotion clear throughout. She is particularly strong in the more emotional moments towards the end of the play as the sisters say goodbye to each other for the final time.
What is less clear is why this is happening and this was an issue for me throughout. A lack of exposition meant that it wasn’t always obvious what the sisters were talking about, especially when discussing other people. At one point Andromeda undertakes a chair exercise (a psychologist’s tool) but this was especially difficult to follow. The story felt a little rough around the edges, and it could maybe have done with a slight slowing in pace in favour of added clarity. It is worth mentioning at this point that this play is Spanish and therefore it is possible that something has been lost in translation.
The set design, by Mariachiara Maracci, was wonderful. A bedroom full of bookcases really captured the character of Andromeda who clearly places a lot of stock in books. In fact, Little Women was a recurring theme throughout the story any lovers of that particular book will especially enjoy some of the parallels drawn. In fact, some of the lines in the play feel like they could have been lifted straight out of some of the scenes between Jo and Beth and the relationship between the two sisters could be described as something similar – one fiery and fighting, the other calm and at peace.
Whilst I didn’t completely understand what was happening, and I certainly have no idea what the overall message of the show is, I did enjoy it. I was engaged by where the story was going and although I don’t think it ever arrived at its destination, I was intrigued by the journey. It asked some interesting questions and maybe the point is that you have to find the answer for yourself. With performances in both Spanish and English, there are plenty of opportunities to find the answer to the question, what is reality?
Review by Emily Diver
Twin sisters attempt an awkward exercise of pretending to be someone else, taking them close to the line that separates good and evil; the love of life and destruction; lucidity and madness. What do you do to pose as someone inside of you? Can you love the living in the same way that you have love for the dead? Is darkness hindered by light?
La Realidad/The Reality
written by Denise Despeyroux,
translated by Sarah Maitland
Performances 1st – 18th May 2019