Sisterly struggle comes alive

It has been said that the bond between two sisters is stronger than anything else in this world. Despite what happens during the day, sisters will always stand by each other. But what happens when personal space becomes an issue?

In “Two Sisters and a Piano” by Nilo Cruz, two sisters are thrown into the dark side of Cuba’s media, where declaring liberalization is an instant two year sentence in jail. Then, after two years of serving their sentence, the sisters are released and placed under house arrest together. Maria, the eldest sister is played by Ashley Vaughan, is a writer who believes in the powerful words of Mikhael Gorbachev. Sofia, an eccentric pianist is played by Heather Ives. Two women with different interests, trapped together in their own personal imprisonment, are forced to push their limits.

Vaughan, a sophomore, has been involved in smaller organizations like forensics and debate. This year is her first year of theatre and the fourth production she’s been in. Vaughan’s audition was influenced by her theatre scholarship; however, her desire to work with Sharon Sullivan and her passion for the play fueled it. “I knew this was going to be one of the best plays to participate in during the season.”

Ives, current president of the Washburn Players, and a senior, has been involved in theatre for merely a few years.

“Two Sisters and a Piano” is the second production she’s been in. Ives first came to audition for this production because of the set design. Her experience in last semester’s Set and Design course spiked her interest to audition after the set designer, Tony Naylor, began brainstorming ideas. “There was no question,” said Ives. “I was going to audition.”

When asked what it was like working together both Vaughan and Ives responded with enthusiasm about how close they became. “[Ives] and I have had so much fun working on this production.” Vaughan stated. You could say we became sisters in a way. It was definitely a highlight of my summer.”

Both girls stated that they felt a strange connection with their characters after practicing the role, Vaughan especially. “Starting out, I assumed I had absolutely nothing to really work with.  Sure, I could research and use the articles as initiative for some of the emotions, but it never really felt like they were genuine until I realized that the specific situations in which these women go through are unique, but how they handle those emotions is very much how I would as well.”

Ives actually auditioned for the part of Maria when first beginning, but Sharon Sullivan, associate professor and director, cast her as Sofia.

“I think I have a deeper connection with Sofia. There’s such a yearning to be free, to explore, to go beyond the point she’s at in her life– to live. She’s stuck in this prison, not because of her own actions but because of the actions of her sister. I can identify so strongly to that wanting of more,” Ives said. “I’m glad I was cast as Sofia.”

When given the opportunity to speak with Sharon Sullivan one on one, she spoke highly of the girls. “[Ives] and [Vaughan] have really done a great job at creating that same sort of closeness in real life as it is in their characters. They both are truly sweet and talented girls that I’ve enjoyed working with.”

The play can be seen on September 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 p.m. and September 11 at 2:00 p.m.