The Bunner Sisters, adapted by Richard Alleman, is based on the novella written by Edith Wharton. The play is being brought to the San Francisco stage by the newly formed, RE:ACT, made up of American Conservatory Theatre alumni.
The story is reflective on the decisions we make that we believe are for the greater good. Ann Eliza (Amy Prosser) and her younger sister Evelina (Heather Kellogg) own a small shop selling artificial flowers and sewing clothes. Evelina is given a clock by her older sister for her birthday. It’s not only beautiful but also has the latest technology. The maker is Mr. Herman Ramy (Josiah Polhemus), whose secrets aren’t suspected as he brings out the rosy cheeks in both women. Nosy neighbor, Mrs. Mellins (Anne Buelteman) starts convincing Evelina that she will one day marry him. Ann Eliza is dismissed as being too old to even think about those things, she’s an official spinster. Ann Eliza concentrated on taking care of her younger sister after their mother died when they were young. She created a comfortable environment during a time of high poverty in a shabby town in New York City in 1896.
Ultimately, Ann Eliza makes a decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life. She didn’t do anything wrong but believes that she was doing what was best for her younger sister. When you want to see someone happy and alter your life for them, your neglecting yourself and playing with their outcome as well. You never know what will happen in the world but sometimes the risk can be worth it. In this case, things didn’t turn out as imagined.
This theatre is worth supporting with what they were able to do with the small space at the A.C.T. Costume Shop. The American Conservatory Theatre is also known for churning out mega stars like Annette Bening, Benjamin Bratt, Nicolas Cage, Danny Glover, and Denzel Washington. Who knows? You may be watching the next Denzel Washington. Having watched the first show there were still moments that needed to be tidied up. Accents went in and out and lines were forgotten. However, Amy Prosser stood out as Ann Eliza Bunner. She was a strong lead and was quick on her dialogue when saving others after they mixed up their lines. The direction by Anthony Newfield was also on point.
The Bunner Sisters: Thursday, Feb. 11, through Feb. 21. 7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, The A.C.T. Costume Shop, 1117 Market St., San Francisco. Tickets $25: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2486886