College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS


The Department of Theatre in the School of the Arts will present The Memory of Water, a play by British playwright Shelagh Stephenson. If you ever had a lousy holiday, struggled with family dynamics, or bashed your head against the recalcitrant personalities of your parents or siblings, you will enjoy this award-winning, dark comedy.

The play will run Thursday, October 1 through Tuesday, October 6. The performances will take place in the Emmett Robinson Theatre in the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St. Curtain times will be at 8 p.m. except Sunday, October 4 at 3 p.m. only. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by phone 953-5604. Admission is $15 general admission/$10 for College of Charleston students/faculty/staff and senior citizens 60 and older. The “talkback” discussions with the cast and crew will take place opening night, following the performance. The production contains some adult subject matter, mild language and smoking.

The plot builds around the death of Vi, the mother of three adult sisters who return to their childhood home for the funeral and reminiscing and debating over old memories. The story proves that death can reveal the absurdity of life and gets to the heart of family life with warm and raucous humor. Excellent jokes give way to festering resentments and drunken hilarity, to sudden glimpses of buried secrets and aching pain. Finally, it says that the way we remember things reveals more about ourselves than about the things being remembered or rather that perhaps a memory isn’t a recording of the past, but a wish sent back from the future.

The Memory Of Water first opened at the Hampstead Theatre in North London in July of 1996 and went on to a successful run in London’s West End from 1998-1999. In 2000, it won The Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. In 2002 Lewis Gilbert, best known for his direction of Alfie, as well as three James Bond films, directed the film version of The Memory of Water entitled Before You Go, starring Julie Walters.

Stephenson hails from Northumberland and studied drama at Manchester University, where she focused on acting before studying playwriting full-time. She has written five original plays for BBC Radio, including Darling Peidi, The Anatomical Venus, and Five Kinds Of Silence, which won the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Original Drama. One of Stephenson’s other plays, An Experiment With an Air Pump was a joint winner of the 1997 Peggy Ramsay Award. The Long Road (2008) was her last published play.

See The Post and Courier’s article from Sunday’s Arts and Travel section:

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