Inklings Review: Student Play Explores Love

No Regrets, Just Love: The cast of "Sibling Rivarly" bows after a successful performance.| Photo by Caitlyn Rand'13

Caitlyn Rand’13
Web Opinions Editor

Most people expect to fall in love at some point in their life. Fewer expect to fall in love in high school. No one expects to fall in love with his or her stepsibling.

“Sibling Rivalry,” a play written and directed by Suzanne Kleine ’11, premiered its single performance at Toquet Hall on Nov. 6.

The plotline, which was unique and intense, told the story of Olivia and Jason, stepsiblings who fall in love.

When I arrived at the play, I was dubious of the actors’ ability to act as lovestruck stepsiblings, let alone act as family members.

However, Charlotte Smith ’12, who played Olivia, and Thomas Bonner ’14, who played Jason, definitely proved me wrong.

From the moment the two first made eye contact, I could sense a strong connection between the two characters and their close relationship.

Their connection was so palpable that I quickly feared a sexual attraction later in the play.

Throughout the entire 40-minute performance, all five of the characters stayed on the stage. Very few props were used— only five stools, a bottle of pills, two books, and a few other sundries. Additionally, the characters were dressed in mostly black.

The simplicity of Kleine’s backdrop design, though unexpected, really helped me focus on the nuances of the plot rather than admiring the scenery. It was also a great contrast to a plot with so much drama.

A decent amount of the play consisted of short monologues that gave the audience a glimpse inside of the minds of the main characters, which made it much easier to follow. Knowing what each character was thinking about a certain situation created an engrossing suspense in the plot.

The play even began with monologues from Smith and Bonner describing the moment they first met, late into their parents’ relationship. Their relationship was awkward at first, but they quickly became very close and found comfort in each other.

Klein’s crafting of the timeline of the stepsiblings’ connection was eloquent and brilliant.

After only a few days of knowing her, Jason could not help putting his arm around his stepsister. Soon after, they could not resist the urge to kiss. Jason said that he just wanted to touch her, but not in a sexual way. Rather, he just wanted to feel close to her.

As the tension built, I became enticed in the play, waiting for the stepsiblings to break the rules again.

As time went on, the connection between Jason and Olivia deteriorated as Olivia’s friends Kyle— played by Amelia Green ’13— and Marshall— played by Sarah Kleine ’12— became attracted to Jason, raising the tension between the stepsiblings.

From here, the story spiraled downward, with each event getting increasingly tragic. Olivia rapidly lost weight and got involved with drugs. She commented that her entire relationship with Jason was a mistake, and Jason was heartbroken.

Olivia’s friends grew suspicious of her relationship with Jason, and the relationship between the stepsiblings became even more awkward. Despite the fact that Olivia had moved on, Jason could not get over her.

Olivia got a new boyfriend, Barrett— played by Tom Dolan, a junior at Fairfield Prep— which made Jason jealous and depressed. The play ended with damaged characters in seemingly irreparable pain.

The story was heartwrenching, with little comedy and few uplifting moments. Even when Olivia and Jason were happy together, and I saw how perfect they were for each other, I remembered that they were stepsiblings and that they could never be.

Despite the show’s inevitable heartbreak, it really made me think more than any other play I’ve ever seen, leading me to question what love really is and how close too close is.