Directed by the author, "Two Sisters and a Piano" reveals its roots as a radio play from its reliance on poetry and language: this is a cat-and-mouse game in which the participants use words to circle each other in order to achieve their goals. But who is the cat and who is the mouse? Set in 1991 in Havana during the Pan-American Games and while the Russians are pulling out of Cuba, we meet sisters Maria Celia, a well-known novelist (played by Florencia Lozano), and Sofia, a pianist (Rubin-Vega), both under house arrest in the crumbling premises that they grew up in. As a punishment for a petition that Maria initiated and signed, the sisters were first place in prison and now are confined to their childhood home, and have not received any of their mail for months. [more]
Feraud’s scenario is structured as a series of taut precise scenes bursting with sharp dialogue and topical references including an Uber driver with a musical recording on Spotify. She drops well-timed details that advance her agenda of tackling the issue of the preoccupation with feminine physical perfection. We learn of Peter and Joan’s strained marriage that is characterized by resentfulness over financial inequity and past infidelity. Everything reaches a realistic and dramatically satisfying conclusion. [more]
Director Shira-Lee Shalit provides breakneck pacing, swift scene transitions and compelling stage compositions that include the presence of the violinist. The visual and the verbal are in enthralling unison as Ms. Shalit achieves momentum, raucousness and sensitivity with her vigorous staging. A fully clothed sex scene is powerfully erotic as it visualizes the dynamics of the charatcers. Shalit masterfully guides the cast’s volcanic performances. [more]
The play’s scenes alternate between the scientific research institute and the couple’s apartment. The theatrical device of having one set representing both places is well rendered by scenic designer David Zinn’s realistic and well-appointed set. Matt Frey’s lighting design and Ryan Rumery’s sound design contribute requisite razzle dazzle effects for the transitions from one setting to another. Mr Zinn also designed the purposeful costumes.
Although I was never bored, at 135 minutes (including intermission) the play is quite long for the story it's telling. The animals, as fun as they are, get a considerable amount of stage time but never move the narrative forward. They even get solo spots where they recite beat poetry, which are brilliant and amusing but stop the show dead. Even money says that if the parents’ through line was clarified and strengthened this play would slim down easily to a more appropriate length. [more]