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August 16, 2016

Top 10 Plays About Siblings


Sibling relationships are some of the most valuable and affecting in our lives. Brothers and sisters are both our friends and our foes. They’re our accomplices, allies and adversaries. They teach us valuable skills, such as how to love, share and resolve conflict, but also carry the great power of being able to give us honest constructive criticism without fear of consequences. Sometimes we can’t stand them, sometimes they’re the only people to whom we can relate, but either way they’re ours for life. Here are our top picks for titles about siblings.

True West by Sam Shepard
This American classic explores alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California landscape. Sons of a desert dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee’s trashy Western tale. 3m, 1f

Curiosity Cat by Chris Grabenstein
It’s a story about displaced children and homeless cats as well as family and the value of curiosity. When their mother becomes very ill Claire and Charlie are forced to live with their father’s Aunt Jenny. A stray cat named Curiosity also wanders into the house. When he breaks Claire’s prized music box, she immediately throws him back out into the streets. Being homeless is an adventure, not a concern, for a cat this curious and cool. Soon, the children (with Fred the dog) set out to rescue Curiosity Cat who is busily trying to help other forlorn felines find homes while simultaneously avoiding a newly appointed “cat catcher” who vows to put him to sleep! Filled with memorable characters, the play builds to a funny and touching climax that will leave audiences laughing and cheering! 5m, 2f, 1b, 1g, 6m or f

Mauritius by Theresa Rebeck
Stamp collecting is far more risky than you think. After their mother’s death, two estranged half-sisters discover a book of rare stamps that may include the crown jewel for collectors. One sister tries to collect on the windfall, while the other resists for sentimental reasons. In this gripping tale, a seemingly simple sale becomes dangerous when three seedy, high-stakes collectors enter the sisters’ world, willing to do anything to claim the rare find as their own. 3m, 2f

Relatively Close by James Sherman
Three sisters return to the home on the shores of Lake Michigan where they spent the summers of their youth.  Now, the sisters are grown, the parents are gone, and the house is in question.  One sister wants to keep it, one sister wants to sell it, and one sister just wants everyone to get along.  With their husbands and one disgruntled teenager all gathered together for one tense family gathering, they may find hope for the future or the downfall of the present. 4m, 3f

Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzler
When Devon visits Simone for an end-of-summer sibs fest on Martha’s Vineyard, she finds her little sister changed beyond recognition. As personal assistant to wealthy and demanding trophy wife Michaela Kell, Simone enjoys a lavish beachfront lifestyle that these girls never could have imagined growing up in blue-collar Buffalo—but is all this luxury really free of cost? Worlds collide and sisters square off in this keenly-observed comedy about ambition, regret and the choices that shape who we become. 2m, 3f

Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon
The night after their grandfather’s funeral, three cousins engage in a verbal (and sometimes physical) battle. In one corner is Daphna Feygenbam, a “Real Jew” who is volatile, self-assure and unbending. In the other is her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man, who has his shiksa girlfriend, Melody, in tow. Stuck in the middle is Liam’s brother, Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray. When Liam stakes claim to their grandfather’s Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. 2m, 2f

The Pink Factor by Julia Marie Myatt
A young woman returns home to her doting parents and cynical sister to relearn her past, which may or may not have been deeply dark. 3m, 3f

Aphrodisiac by Rob Handel
Congressman Dan Ferris is being questioned about the disappearance of intern Ilona Waxman. Sound awkward? Imagine if he was your dad. When Congressman Ferris’s response puts his children in an even more awkward position, they search for the truth by improvising a drama of loyalty, seduction, and betrayal. Until Monica Lewinsky interrupts… 1m, 2f

A Lifetime Burning by Cusi Cram
If you had the power to revise your past, what would you change? Who would you be? Trust fund darling Emma imagines what her life would have been like had she come from a less privileged background. Trouble is, she chronicles her alternate life in a new tell-all “memoir” that was sold for a hefty advance. When Emma is exposed, will her sister, Tess, stand by her? Or will Emma’s deceit destroy their already fractured relationship? This dark comedy brings up questions of legacy, loyalty and what it means to belong. 1m, 3f

Could I Have This Dance? By Doug Haverty
A play about two sisters in their 30’s: Monica and Amanda. Their mother, Jeannette, has Huntington’s and lives with her daughters. The action takes place in the Los Angeles office/home where the girls run a thriving public relations firm, Grapevine, which was started by their mother. During the course of the play, we come to understand the time bomb these two sisters live with. Their possible fate is dramatically evidenced in the characterization of Jeannette which is interpreted through dance. Both Monica and Amanda have shunned long-term romantic relationships because of their unknown fate; bitter Monica plays it safe and vibrant Amanda takes every chance with young, one-night-stands. Could I Have this Dance? is ultimately about love and cherishing what life we are given. This is a deeply romantic play about difficult choices. As the once-murky medical crystal ball becomes clearer, the universal question remains: Are we better off not looking at what the future holds? 3m, 3f

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also recognize the following plays about siblings:

Fly By Night by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick, Will Connolly
A star-crossed prophecy. A lot of music. Just not a lot of light. In this darkly comic rock-fable, a melancholy sandwich maker’s humdrum life is intersected by two entrancing sisters. A sweeping ode to young love set against the backdrop of the northeast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night is a tale about making your way and discovering hope in a world beset by darkness. 5m, 2f

All Hail Hurricane Gordo by Carly Mensch
The routines of daily life get blown apart when two brothers take in a
plucky young houseguest. While India is running away from her relatively normal family, Chaz is struggling to find normalcy in the one he already has. Is it possible to be your brother’s keeper and have a life too? 3m, 1f

Water and Power by Richard Montoya
A hard working immigrant father wants better for his sons, twins named Water and Power. He wants them to be like Mr. Mullholand – deciding where the water flows in this desert pueblo. From the Mother Ditch in Chinatown, to the arroyos and ravines that would become Dodgers Stadium, L.A. re-invents herself faster than a Hollywood soundstage. History is cemented over and stars fade in a blaze of glory, but Water and Power will always be remembered — all will know how the eastside rolls! Everything the brothers stand for hangs in the balance as they meet in room #13 at the Motel Paradise on the eastern edge of Sunset Boulevard. That’s a part of the boulevard you never want to find yourself in on a dark and rainy night. L.A.’s not for everybody… 7m

American Hwangap by Lloyd Suh
Steeped in the difficulty of reunification and reconciliation, American Hwangap tells the story of Min Suk Chun, who some 15 years earlier left his family in a West Texas suburb to return to his native Korea. On the occasion of his 60th birthday (hwangap), a milestone signifying the completion of the Eastern Zodiac and a type of rebirth, he returns to his ex-wife and now adult children as they struggle to reconcile their broken past with the mercurial, verbose and often exasperating patriarch now back at the head of the table. Through a tense birthday weekend filled with humor, heartbreak and half-filled expectations, this American hwangap and its aftermath bears a family not quite whole but still somehow transformed, and not quite happy but still somehow beautiful. 3m, 2f