The story is built around the
death of Vi, the mother of three adult sisters who return to their childhood
home for the funeral and the attendant sorting out of a lifetime, which includes
not only Mom's garish old clothes, but also their connections to their parents,
each other, and the men in their lives.
Mary, the middle daughter, is a neurologist doing research in memory and in the fifth year of an affair with a married
Teresa, the oldest daughter, took care of their mother when she developed Alzheimer's disease. She and her
husband run a health food business.
Catherine, the baby of the family, is addicted to shopping and men who never stay, and she dabbles in drugs and
The playwright chooses to include the mother as a character onstage and weaves her in and out of the action. The first act ends with the three sisters half-dressed in gaudy remnants of their mother's wardrobe, tipsy and hysterically clowning for the camera and their men.
By play's end, the audience has gotten to know each character and their
idiosyncrasies intimately, as the sisters come to terms with each other and their shared past. One sister observes, "Our mother runs through us whether we like it or not."
"The Memory of
Water" garnered the 2000 Olivier Award for Best Comedy for its London
production. In the United States, the renowned Steppenwolf Theatre of Chicago
and Manhattan Theater Club have both brought it to the stage. Carpenter Square
Theatre is proud to present the play's first production in Oklahoma.