Friday, October 05, 2018

Cuban Resistance In A Poetic Play

Two Sisters and a Piano (Dave Hastings)
Two Sisters And A Piano
Theater Schmeater
Through October 6, 2018

A mournful, poetic semi-historical production is at Theater Schmeater. Two Sisters And A Piano, by Nilo Cruz, is closing this weekend and it is a lovely work that you should try to see before it’s over.

The two sisters are Maria Celia, a writer whose work was deemed to controversial and provocative for the Cuban government around the time of Perestroika in the Soviet Union, and Sofia, a younger piano-playing woman who gets stuck in isolated detention with her sister. These sisters are beautifully portrayed by Marquicia Dominguez and Aviona Rodriguez Brown.

Their trapped isolation is suffocating. The pathos is palpable. Anyone who visits is a potential threat or someone sent to trick them to reveal themselves as violating terms of their house arrest.
Even while they know the dangers, even “bad” strangers are better than no visits at all… When a lieutenant (Roger Estrada) comes to visit, repeatedly, he could be a threat in any number of ways. He is clearly enamoured of Maria Celia. Will he attack her sexually? Will he turn her in for sedition? What is his motive? What does he want?

Maria Celia’s dilemma is heightened because her husband and the sister’s father have both gotten out of the country and are trying to get Maria Celia and Sofia out as well. But all the letters back and forth are subject to being read by authorities and they can only write in a kind of code. The officer brings all the letters to show her he knows all about her.

Even a piano tuner (Joshua Holguin) could be a spy. Sofia yearns so much for love that she even has an imaginary romance with an unseen man next door whom she can only hear moving about! So a real man in the person of a piano tuner is a special opportunity.

Jose Amador directs this piece with emotion and deliberate pacing. Introducing musical interludes with music sets a tone and a mood.

The sisters’ devotion to each other is very apparent, and the actors care about their characters. This is a play in one room with a “small” plot, but it packs an emotional wallop and gives the audience a taste of what it might be like to be locked up at “home” all day long, never knowing who to trust.

This piece reminds us of our extraordinary privileges to object to and openly protest our government’s actions. This is not the kind of freedom available to most of the rest of the world. Reminders of our freedoms seems especially necessary right about now.

For more information, go to or call 206-324-5801. 

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