Sibling’s death offers a life-affirming tale

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TO ca Sometimes Gallo Images SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 10, John Obi Mikel from Nigeria celebrating after the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations Final match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso from the National Stadium on Februay 10, 2013 in Soweto, South Africa Photo by Manus van Dyk / Gallo Images

SOMETIMES I LAUGH LIKE MY SISTER

DIRECTOR: Martin Baltelt

CAST: Rebecca Peyton

VENUE: Theatre Arts Admin

UNTIL: Saturday

RATING: ****

Sometimes I Laugh Like My Sister is a touching conversation between actress Rebecca Peyton (pictured) and the audience.

Granted, she does all the talking, but it is still her revealing her thoughts about how the murder of her sister, BBC journalist Kate Peyton, affected her.

While the entire production is scripted, Rebecca subtly changes bits of the dialogue to suit her location, but it still feels like an off-the-cuff stream of consciousness.

Instead of recounting the circumstances of her sister’s death, she relives in minute detail the day she heard her sister had been killed and how her life was suddenly derailed on to an entirely different track she never envisaged for herself.

She has a very measured way of speaking, which probably helps her to get the words out because having to relive that raw emotion again and again must be painful, even after eight years.

It’s a compelling piece of theatre which draws you into that weird twilight of your own life stopping, while life blithely goes on around you.

The casual way of presenting the production – she strolls on to the stage and wanders around with a glass of water in her hand – creates an intimacy as she draws the audience into the shocking experience of the death of a loved one.

While it is a tear-jerking experience, Rebecca leavens the horror by recounting some of the inadvertent wisecracks and inexplicably inappropriate behaviour that goes hand in hand with trying to deal in public with some a personal loss.

The one-act play is 85 minutes long, but instead of being depressing, it is surprisingly life-affirming as the actress also touches on how her community rallied around the family.

In addition to giving an insight into how the family engaged with Kate, Rebecca also talks about discovering this other side of her big sister, who was an award-winning journalist and well respected by her peers.

While the inquest into Kate’s death in Somalia raked up all sorts of legal ramifications for the family, Rebecca talks about the emotional impact, which is something everyone experiences at some point, which creates a point of reference for audience members who might not necessarily know any journalists.

Rebecca and her family are quite open about discussing the concept of death – their father died when the siblings were little – but she was, and still is, bemused by how taboo the subject still is in everyday conversation.

It’s as if she is going to infect the people with her death

, Rebecca only half-jokes.


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