There is nothing like a funeral to bring out the worst in people. In Shelagh Stephenson’s play, three estranged sisters with a long history of failing to get on convene to make arrangements for their mother’s cremation.

The Memory of Water was Stephenson’s first play, opening in London in 1996, and was awarded the prestigious Olivier Award for best comedy.  Masquerade Theatre Company is now presenting this comedy/drama.

Voted UK ‘Play of the Year’ in 2001, The Memory of Water is a big-hearted and bittersweet examination of family and memory. The story centres around three sisters, Teresa, Mary and Catherine, who come together before their mother’s funeral.

The play focuses more on how each sister deals with the death and how it directly affects them. The three each have different memories of the same events which inevitably causes them to bicker about whose memories are true.

As the three women interact after years of separation, many of their hidden lies and self-betrayals reach the surface. Memory is the main theme in this play. The sisters’ memories – recalled as they are in all their inaccuracies, almost interact with each other, and show that despite synchronicites of time and place the people involved in the incidents of the past cannot agree on the facts of a unified experience.

Stephenson’s talent for witty dialogue and dynamic sense of theatre are evident in this story where emotions run high and family secrets are revealed as the three sisters bring past conflicts into present events with hilarious results.

Masquerade’s production features Pia Zammit, Nadia Vella and Coryse Borg (playing the three sisters), Kate De Cesare (as the mum) and Stefan Farrugia and Chris Dingli (as the men in their lives).

Direction is by Stephen Oliver.

The Memory of Water runs at Blue Box – M Space, Msida, today, tomorrow and on February 24 and 25 at 8pm. Tickets may be obtained online at

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