The Memory of Water

Overview

This was all right Stephenson's first play and opened in London in 1996, winning the Olivier Award for Best Comedy that year.

Three sisters meet on the eve of their mother's funeral; as the conflicts of the past converge, everyday lies and tensions reveal the particular patterns and strains of family relationships. Teresa is seemingly content with her second marriage and health food business though she is an obsessive organizer to the point of extremes. Mary is a vaguely ...

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The Memory of Water

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Overview

This was all right Stephenson's first play and opened in London in 1996, winning the Olivier Award for Best Comedy that year.

Three sisters meet on the eve of their mother's funeral; as the conflicts of the past converge, everyday lies and tensions reveal the particular patterns and strains of family relationships. Teresa is seemingly content with her second marriage and health food business though she is an obsessive organizer to the point of extremes. Mary is a vaguely discontented successful doctor with an equally successful lover Mike, who is, alas, married. Catherine is the youngest and most immature and binges on shopping for inappropriate clothes, go-nowhere love affairs, and drugs. There's also the about to be buried mother who returns to haunt her three daughters in order to ensure everything is alright with the three of them before she is laid to rest.

Stephenson’s story is a tragedy, peppered with laughter, about mothers and daughters who fail to successfully navigate the troubling shores of love and antagonism and also tend to fail in establishing healthy and enduring connections with sisters and lovers.

This Student Edition features the full text of the play and an introduction that includes a plot summary and a discussion of the themes, characters, structure, language, style and production history of the play. Notes on words and phrases in the text, questions for further study and a bibliography provide students with everything they need to study and appreciate this award-winning play.

 

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Editorial Reviews

NY Times
THE MEMORY OF WATER...is dotted with stimulating observations...it has a raw spontaneity that captures perfectly the idea of what normal people do in abnormal times...
NY Daily News
THE MEMORY OF WATER really lives up to the poetry reflected in its title. It also keeps us highly entertained for two hours and leaves us deeply touched in the end.
The Independent
This touching and hugely entertaining comedy provides an insight into the lives of three sisters who are reunited for their mother's funeral. A neurotic maternal type, a paranoid doctor and a brattish youngest sibling recall their childhood, but find that personal grievances have coloured their memories, which differ greatly and cause immense friction
The Telegraph
This is a lovely piece, full of humour and heart...Where the play works best is...in its satisfying mixture of sardonic humour and deep emotion. Excellent jokes give way to festering resentments, booze and dope-fuelled hilarity to sudden glimpses of buried secrets and aching pain.
London Times
Shelagh Stephenson [is] a dramatist with a sharp eye and a gift for quirky dialogue to match.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780413776143
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Student Editions Series
  • Edition description: Student
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,064,677
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Shelagh Stephenson is an award-winning writer of stage and radio plays. Many of her plays deal with  science themes and questionable scientific fads. She is the winner of the Writers Guild Award for Best Original Drama. Methuen Drama publishes a collection of her plays in the Contemporary Dramatists series: Stephenson Plays: 1.
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