Everyone needs a place, or people to call their own; sometimes that’s the family you are born into and sometimes that is the people you choose. The world premiere play SHUTTER SISTERS written by Mansa Ra and directed by Donya K. Washington is a sweet, funny, and touching play about two women who connect over some of the most emotionally turbulent days of their lives. SHUTTER SISTERS is now playing in The Old Globe‘s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre through November 7th.
The show explores the mirror lives of two women, Mykal (Terry Burrell) and Michael (Shana Wride) who are both struggling through challenges that change the direction of their lives. They have a lot in common besides their names: they are loyal and successful salespeople for the same shutter retailer, both are adopted and don’t know anything about their birth parents, both are divorced, and both are divorced. They each conversationally talk to the audience about where they are in life and how they got there, never interacting until their parallel lives intersect.
Burrell as Mykal, is a single mom to an adult, but an irresponsible daughter who also has a small child. She recalls her story growing up in a loving adoptive Black family, but how she succumbed to the charms of a bad boy leaving her with a child to raise. As she worked hard to provide and be the best responsible parent possible, she played the game of trying to fit in, be less Black in a corporate job, toned down her hair and jewelry, work hard but seemed to always be just out of reach of that promotion. Mykal took back her life and quit that job, finding years of success selling shutters, but finds that her daughter’s life choices have led Mykal to the crossroad of choosing which life she lives for – hers or her daughters.
Wride, as Michael is also adopted, was raised in a family that wasn’t as supportive, and yearns for a tribe of her own. She tried to follow a traditional life path, went to school, and got her “Mrs.” degree, but that proved not to be what she needed in life. She also found success in the shutter industry (in a different store than Mykal) but when a death in her adoptive family occurs it forces her to look for answers to still lingering questions.
Burrell is has a funny and feisty delivery as the energetic Mykal who for all her challenges to overcome knows how smart and good she is at her job. Wride’s vulnerable and more self-deprecating Michael is a good foil, she has lots of questions in need of some answers. They both defy the stereotypes they may have to work against.
Together, and directed by Donya K. Washington, they deliver a very entertaining show, that also speaks to the similarities and the stark differences in these two women’s lives. Written by Mansa Ra the dialogue and the story flow in a very natural way, though Mykal has a bit more to work with than the role of Michael.
Scenery by Wilson Chin allows for the performers to use all the angles of the theatre in the round, and yes, there are shutters as well. Lighting by Zach Murphy, sound by Chris Lane, and costumes by Kara Harmon all help bring the show together.
SHUTTER SISTERS is a very enjoyable and empathetic look at how connections between mothers, daughters, friends, and even strangers impact the story of your life.
The Old Globe requires proof of full vaccination is required or a negative COVID-19 PCR test is required within 72 hours of the curtain. Masks are required to be worn for the entire duration in the theatre.
Looking for more reviews? Click here