Review: Kin Theater, Lion and Unicorn


Review: Kin Theater, Lion and Unicorn

Kin centers on two sisters brought together by the imminent death of their father. The sisters, Sarah (Priti Colbeck) and Lily (Matsume Kai) have very different perspectives and approaches to life. Sarah is driven by her career and uses her job and her busy schedule to explain her lack of commitment to any form of relationship. Lily, on the other hand, is bound by duty and responsibility for her, taking care of her own family and her father essentially separated from her despite the mistakes she made in the past. During its 70-minute runtime, the writer (Max Dickins) and director (David Fairs) are able to weave together a meaningful…

Classification

60

Okay

A passionately heated confrontation between two sisters that brilliantly shows how ugly and explosive buried resentments can escalate over time.

relatives centers on two sisters brought together by the imminent death of their father. The sisters, Sarah (priti colbeck) and Lily (kai matsume) have very different views and approaches to life. Sarah is driven by her career and uses her job and her busy schedule to explain her lack of commitment to any form of relationship. Lily, on the other hand, is bound by duty and responsibility for her, taking care of her own family and her father essentially separated from her despite the mistakes she made in the past.

Throughout its 70-minute duration, the writer (Max Dickins) and director (david fairs) are able to weave together a significant amount of material by focusing on the interactions of just two characters, exploring their past and deeply buried resentment. The floor window, where the entire play is staged, is represented by chalk drawings of a window on a blackboard. The shifts between quiet, nonchalant chatter and shouting matches are deftly intercepted as Lily erases the drawing of the sun to replace it with the moon, or vice versa, on the blackboard, while the use of background music to reflect the passage of time provides a natural and realistic transition between emotions. While it is clear that both sisters have repressed feelings and anger towards each other, there are also hints of joy and a desire to reconnect as they recall happier childhood experiences. This constant back and forth between anger and joy is cleverly used to drive the story forward.

It is repeatedly mentioned that Lily, despite her apparent lack of career-related successes, is the smart one in the family. However, it’s Sarah who uses overly complicated sentences, which at times feel like they’ve been memorized and ripped from a classic novel. Used sparingly and specifically, this could show Sarah’s desire to demonstrate her superiority over her sister. While this might have been the intention, this element isn’t articulated enough, making it feel overused. It then blurs the line as to whether Sarah has deliberately crafted her responses due to her insecurities or whether this is simply her normal, albeit unnatural, speech pattern.

Although the sisters are reconnected by their ailing father, he does not make a physical appearance. His uncohesive mumbling can be heard through the baby monitor, occasionally interrupting the sisters’ fights. However, while he does add some level of humor and stress relief, it doesn’t seem necessary to the progress of the story. In the end, Lily reflects on the happy moments she shared with her sister, playing images from an old-fashioned film projector. While this could have an impact, the projection is too small and the quality too low for the audience to appreciate the details of what is being shown.

Aside from these issues, Kin is well-crafted and realistic, showing the tension of the confrontation between two sisters when they come face to face during their brief meeting. He shows that sometimes the passage of time does not dilute resentments, but can intensify emotions.


Written by: Max Dickins
Directed by: David Ferias
Produced by: Kean Street Productions

Kin plays the Lion and Unicorn Theater through November 19. More information and reservations can be found here.

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