Meet My Sister by Bonnie Green
World Premiere January 2019, at
Western Canada Theatre in association with Theatre NorthWest
The play opens with Blanche (late 50s), packing boxes on the back porch of a pleasant bungalow. She yells through a locked and curtained bedroom window at her mom, cajoling, begging, pleading for her to come out, and unsuccessfully trying to lure her out by seeing a finch on the finch-feeder. Mom is scheduled to move to Pleasant Poplars, a Long Term Care Facility, but has locked herself in her room. Blanche’s sister, Stella, suddenly arrives. Stella, an organic herbalist and lavender exporter, has travelled from her cabin in the BC interior. She wears flowing, floral pastels, carries an overstuffed hemp bag and is into alternative everything. This is in stark contrast to Blanche, whose tailored clothes are mostly gray, and who is a public health nurse for city high schools, and is organized, hard-working and deadline-oriented. The sisters, who we later discover are twins, bait and banter as siblings do: they bond, fight, argue over who inherits the green glass, and wholeheartedly dispute each other’s decisions over their aging mom. They also reminisce about their childhood, recalling both good and bad memories – the cute boy from high school called Sly who is now an aging drug dealer living with his dad, the fork incident when Stella poked Blanche in the temple, and a 1960s car trip where they spotted Ogopogo and sang the same Swell Sisters song over and over. The bickering reverts to competing over their mother’s love until Mom yells out the window she loves “Marly” the most – and the sisters, dumbfounded, ask each other “who the hell is Marly?”
Sly appears with a wine delivery and the three laugh, reminisce, drink wine out of Blue Mountain pottery figurines and flirt. There is ladder lazzi when Sly climbs up to check on the mom through the window and the twins follow, all the while spewing forth about their favourite 60s show, Gilligan’s Island. The first startling reveal is when the three discover that Sly is really Marly, their half-brother, who their mom had illegitimately in Niagara Falls. The second twist is when we learn that Sly’s drug dealing is a front; he’s really an undercover RCMP narc and has had Stella and her partner’s compound under surveillance. He realizes that Stella is innocent but in danger and they need to conjure a plan. Stella inner-visions trailers, partially refundable airline tickets, sap buckets and a chicken coop. The perfect plan is hatched: Stella and Mom will move into an empty trailer beside Sly and his dad; Sly will return to the Okanagan to make the big bust before he retires; Blanche will return to her job in the city. The siblings coax Mom out of her bedroom by singing the same Swell Sisters’ song from the car trips, “Playin’ With Our Hearts.” Stella takes the finch-feeder to the trailer, Blanche gets the green glass collection and Sly happily inherits the Blue Mountain pottery.
Keywords: Sisters, Aging Parent, comedy, rural/urban, siblings