Sister

This unpretentious production is as unflinchingly fearless as it is heart-warming. Rosana Cade is a lesbian, Amy Cade a sex worker, and together the two sisters take the audience on an exploration of their relationships with their sexualities and each other, whilst completely naked. This feminist, sex-positive piece has a compelling capacity make the audience feel incredibly uncomfortable, and then through a charming humanity revoke such awkwardness to make the audience as at ease as these two performers look in their own skin upon the stage.

The projection of real childhood videos of the pair, used periodically throughout, creates a different emotional experience for the viewer each time they are played

The sisters tell their stories through dance, conversation, visual projection and monologues. Not only does this combination create a pacey and varied piece, but each medium is used in a variety of ways to great effect. The range of dance, from highly sexualised lap-dancing to graceful, athletic pole-dancing, to fun and silly dancing, to interpretative, confrontational dancing, works as a wonderful reflection on the variety of ways in which the body can be perceived, and, more importantly, ways the body can be.

Occasionally, the theatrical techniques feel a little contrived, such as the repetition of key words spoken by one sister by the other. The very conversational tone which the sisters use when talking to each other sometimes has the air of a feigned spontaneity. However, as the performance develops, this casual and comfortable spoken relationship becomes a key element in the success of the piece, for it makes the relationship between the sisters tangible and heart-warming. More consciously theatrical techniques were also used to evoke both the comic and the profound, such as when the two sisters would speak in unison, flowing in and out of sync with each other as their perspectives on a topic diverged and converged. The projection of real childhood videos of the pair, used periodically throughout, creates a different emotional experience for the viewer each time they are played, due to their re-contextualisation by the piece’s progression.

This is a performance with an important message: that we should not be ashamed of our bodies or our sexuality. When Amy reads the letter she sent to her mother to explain her considered choice to work in the sex industry, and discusses the pain she experiences at people’s assumption that her sex-positive, feminist stance is contradictory to the maternal feelings she has, it draws into question the way in which women are judged and pigeonholed by any sexual decision. This performance is for freedom of expression without censorship, for familial love and for acceptance. As a piece of theatre it has its flaws, but as an exploration of humanity it is truly beautiful.

Reviews by Megan Dalton

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sister, in association with The Arches. Amy is a sex worker. Her sister, Rosana, is a shaven-headed lesbian. They are both feminists. In Sister they present a bold and unflinching examination of themselves: their family bonds, shared experiences, and the differing paths their lives have taken. Sister is a powerful and joyous performance exploring feminism and choice. ‘Strange, beautiful, disturbing’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Robust humour and unflinching integrity.... leaves you caught between laughter and tears’ **** (Herald). Part of Made In Scotland Showcase. Previously presented at Behaviour 2014, supported by National Theatre Studio, Battersea Arts Centre and The Yard.