Alexandra Wood’s new play is the equivalent of flipping through a family photo album. It’s a rush of snapshot moments that layer on top of one another, year following year until it’s suddenly too late.
Wood tracks the Tyler sisters – Maddy, reserved and proud, Gail, sarcastic and unsettled, Katrina, punchy and tender – over the course of 40 years, from 1990 to 2030, with each scene consisting of a single moment from one year.
Wood eschews grand plot devices for something far more muted. For the most part, there is an appealing reluctance to show the Big Moments in each sister’s life – whether those be illness, divorce or childbirth. Wood seems more interested in the way those things quietly reverberate – perhaps only making their effects known years, or even decades, later.
Moments flit past, incomplete. A problem that seemed insurmountable in the moment has, a few scenes later, almost been forgotten. And Wood has a lovely sense of how sibling bonds work, how the relationship between two sisters who have always been close can gradually, and then all of a sudden, fracture.
As Katrina, Angela Griffin is the clear standout – a ferocious, irresponsible 16-year-old, who quietly mellows and matures, while still maintaining that fiery, whip-smart edge. People change hugely but also not at all, Wood suggests.
Abigail Graham’s direction, for the most part, is deftly handled, though a few non-verbal moments feel jarringly over-emphatic in their approach. Naomi Kuyck-Cohen’s sparse, purgatorial design can occasionally come across as overly severe, the warmth of the sisters swallowed up by sharp edges.