Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blood Relations

Play #126 - Blood Relations by Sharon Pollock

Okay, it's become pretty obvious that the whole "Play a Day" thing has fallen away. But I'm still going to try to read and blog about as many plays as I can. So there!

Blood Relations is a marvelous psychological thriller that brings us the infamous story of Lizzie Borden. You know:

Lizzy Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done, gave her father forty one.

In this play, an actress comes to visit her friend Lizzie Borden, as she does fairly regularly, it seems. But today, she finally asks the question: Did you do it? Did you, Lizzie? Lizzie doesn't answer her per se, but lets her step into her shoes instead. The Actress goes on to play the role of Lizzie as she interacts with her father, her sister, her step mother, and her step uncle. And Lizzie herself steps into the role of the maid/narrator, leading The Actress through what might have happened in those days leading up to the death of her father and step mother. By the end, The Actress is pretty sure she has the answer, but Lizzie doesn't give us the satisfaction.

It's a very cool play (by a prolific Canadian playwright, which is also cool, eh!) with a wonderful sense of theatricality and the macabre. It does a great job of reviving this infamous mystery - and keeping it present and exciting. There are a lot of great roles for women, and the storytelling is clever. I look forward to working on this one some time!

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