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THE SAVAGE SISTERS (article first published : 2005-08-14)

Fresh from the Grahamstown Festival, the final of van Eeden's Savage Trilogy, this thought-provoking yet engaging play looks at the lives and work of three female literary figures of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

In the play, The Savage Sisters, three young actors are rehearsing a play based on the lives of three seminal women authors: Jane Austen, Fanny Burney and Mary Wollstonecroft. While they try to portray aspects of the authors' lives, they find themselves exploring aspects of their own lives, and what it means to be a woman in 2005.

Written and directed by Janet van Eeden, this is the third in her Savage Trilogy - the first two were A Savage from the Colonies about the life of Katherine Mansfield, and Oviri, The Savage Civilian, about the life of Paul Gauguin.

The Savage Sisters explores the lives of the three authors through the eyes of the students who are putting on a play about them. As it turns out, their director has to miss the first rehearsal because her child is sick. The actors have to make a start on their own, much to the swottish Genevieveís disgust. She canít believe that people could be so unprofessional. She is horrified to hear that Vicky hasnít even read the play, and takes on the role of director herself as she tries to put some semblance of order into the rehearsal process. Marla, the third young actor, at least has done her homework and is up to speed with the characters in the play.

After much annoyance, Genevieve manages to make a start, but even her best laid plans are ruined when the authors decide to have their say, too. The denouement returns audiences to the present where the real reason is discovered behind Genevieveís unhappy disposition.

The play aims to inform the audience about the lives of the authors and casts a reflecting light on the lives of women in society today. Genevieve is played by Cate Hornby, Vicky by Louise Buchler, and Marla by Avi Maistry.




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