The Right Brain Project presents Nicky Silver’s sprawling 1995 tragicomedy
about twin siblings trying to make peace with their past and with each
other. Sebastian (Joel Collins) and Bernadette (Hannah Williams) meet at
the cemetery after their mother’s untimely and bizarre death. They have
been out of touch and are virtual strangers, but each is burdened by a host
of unresolved traumas and resentments. For starters, he’s emotionally
crippled after his lover’s death from AIDS 11 years prior, while she’s
trapped in an unfulfilling marriage and has no discernible purpose in life.
There are moments of depth and dark laughter scattered throughout this
two-and-a-half-hour play, but their impact is blunted repeatedly by
supporting characters who hog too much precious stage time. Bernadette’s
husband (Tyler Esselman) and Sebastian’s shrink (Liz Goodson) are given
full-fledged story lines that could anchor their own plays; both are by
turns buffoonish and grotesque distractions from the siblings. A convicted
murderer and a violent street hustler (both played by Vic Kuligoski) serve
to illustrate Sebastian’s isolation but could’ve been pared down as well.
On the other hand, their mother, Miranda, as played by Laura Jones Macknin,
is the emotional center of the entire piece in her sole scene.
Silver comes up with a satisfying conclusion in which brother and sister
are left to each other to resurrect their broken lives, but I wish we’d had
more time with them rather than having to listen to a bunch of other
people’s problems. Kathi Kaity directed. v