The Seymour Sisters
Two estranged sisters, Eleanor and Cecile, meet to sort through their deceased parents’ belongings, boxes and bins packed with the detritus of another lifetime. As each box is opened, so too is their past as the sisters try to find their way back to each other. A touching, provocative, and often funny look at family, the plays asks what, if anything, we owe our adult sibling relationships.
The play opens with Cecile in a room surrounded by old, worn boxes and bins. She is looking through a box of drapes and bedspreads from the ‘70s and is surprised and delighted to find her childhood stuffed animal, Mr. Boo Boo, who is a little worse for wear. Eleanor arrives, putting on a good face even though she is reluctant to be there. The sisters, who haven’t seen each other in many years, awkwardly fall into an old pattern of bickering. Eleanor argues that there’s no need to go through their parents’ belongings, while Cecile begs her to stay and help. Eleanor acquiesces on the condition that they work quickly and not reminisce. From there, the sisters go through each box and bin, with Cecile moving almost everything into her pile to take home, and Eleanor putting what she can into trash and Goodwill piles, saving only one or two items that fit into her purse. In the midst of all the sorting, the sisters remember their past, sometimes even playfully, singing and laughing. However, since they cannot avoid the truth, Eleanor and Cecile end up confronting their painful childhood, the loss of their sister, and why the two of them broke apart.
The genesis of The Seymour Sisters story came from Vasta Folley’s desire to create a two-woman play with no set. She wanted the “container” for the story to be the boxes that surround both the two women and their shared past. The Seymour Sisters began at the end of 2014 with character development and some initial dialogue. In 2015, Vasta Folley was awarded the Vermont Artist’s Space Grant from The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, which supported further writing and development. A subsequent grant from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund of The Vermont Community Foundation helped to support the completion of the first draft of the play, as well as a workshop tour, which was the catalyst for continued editing, writing, and development. The tour was the second time the playwright took the stage to perform in one of her plays and she used the opportunity to edit and rework the material from inside one of the characters. “It has been an intense and intimate experience and very informative to the writing process. Although this play is fiction, it draws emotionally from my own life, so it truly has been my privilege and challenge to tell this story.”
Vasta Folley says she was drawn to tell a story about sisters in order to explore “the perfect imperfection of the human condition, the complexity of family, and the fact that adult sibling relationships, although often divine, can be fraught with expectation and old ways of being,” adding, “Also, sisters are funny. I know. I have four of them.”
CAST SIZE - (Character & Stage Age)
2 Women (Eleanor and Cecile - 50s - although could be in their 40s or 60s, with some minor script adjustments)