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Art + Culture

Am I My Sister's Keeper?



There’s no breaking the bond two sisters have with one another, no matter how different their personalities may be. Sister's Keeper is a story of love, friendship, family and HIV. It follows the lives of two sisters, Eve and Margo, who refuse to let their different lifestyles cause them to forget their common bond. When crisis strikes, they are reminded that family is the refuge we run to for safety in the time of trouble. It  is a re-write of the play Miracles, which was originally written by the late Lynda J. Jones in 1999. Lynda’s daughters, Terri Jones Salter and Sherri Jones collaborated with Cordelia Donovan to continue their mother’s legacy. Sister's Keeper will have its world premiere September 10th – 14th in Theater for the New City's 2015 Dream Up Festival.

This production shines the spotlight on a topic still considered taboo in many communities. It aims to begin an impactful narrative around the HIV/AIDS epidemic in today’s society with its acclaimed cast and soulful music and lyrics written by two time Grammy award winner Kyle Bynoe of CMORE5 Music, Inc. Intrigued with the back story and the importance of the message, we were recently able to get a little bit more in depth with the sisters. Here's what they had to say...

HC:  For those who are unfamiliar with you or your works, tell us about your background and what made you decide to re-write your mother's play Miracles.

Terri: I'm a former journalist who realized that my passion was more in creative writing than journalism. So, while raising a family I embarked upon the journey of becoming a novelist. I'm the author of Sins of My Mother and have many other creative projects in the works. My mother successfully debuted her play in 1999 and passed before she could take it to New York. So it has always been a goal of my sister and I to fulfill my mother's dream. A lot of things have changed regarding HIV/AIDS since 1999, and so I knew that the play would need some modernization. Therefore, I collaborated with Cordelia Donovan to make the necessary changes. The message in my mother's play was a powerful one and I knew it needed to reach the masses.

HC: Where did she draw her inspiration from, and how consistent is Sister's Keeper with her original vision?

Terri: After a couple of her family members were diagnosed with HIV, my mom began to do a lot of research about the disease. She wanted to bring a message of hope to what at the time seemed a hopeless situation. Sister's Keeper borrows the characters and gives a consistent message with Miracles, but it is a different play.

HC: Which characters do you most relate to?

Terri: I relate the most to Margo because I am very protective of my little sister and I just want her to have the happiest life possible.

Sherri: Eve is the character that I relate to the most. Growing up I didn't always take my older sister's advice and wanted to find my own way, but through it all the two of us managed to keep our bond in tact.

HC: Is this the first time you have worked together?

Terri: Creatively, yes but we work together in church ministry on a regular basis.

HC: Would you say that working on this production strengthened the bond you have as sisters?

Terri: Through the creative process we've managed to grow closer because wherever there are challenges there will be growth and we've encountered stress, setbacks and obstacles along the way, but nevertheless we have maintained our strong sisterly bond.

Sherri: In the end, I think it's brought us closer because we get to share the rebirth of our mom's creative work together and in the midst of the stress it's a beautiful thing that we are working on and I'm glad I have my sister to share the process with.

HC: What do you hope viewers take away from their experience?

Terri: I hope viewers become fully invested in the characters. It's my hope that they laugh, cry and get angry, but at the end of the day, I hope they walk away embracing the play's message which is family is the refuge you run to in the times of trouble. Family doesn't always have to be biological, but they are people in our lives who love us, support us and make us better...that's family.

Sherri: Even beyond the script and the production itself, I hope that viewers take away that when you have a dream you should take every step possible to make it a reality. Our mom had a dream to have her play performed in New York City, and although she didn't live to see it happen she made strides towards it happening while she was alive and now her legacy will live forever through her creative work.

HC: What are your plans after Dream Up Festival?

Terri: After the Dream Up Festival, I want to build on the momentum that this production has created and finish up some of the creative projects that I've been working on. I also want to continue working to transform people's lives.

Sherri: After the the Dream Up Festival, I want to continue to build my business (Sherri Jones Media Group) and find ways that I can help others to reach their full potential and walk in their purpose.

 Show Dates and Times:

September 10 at 9:00 PM, September 11 at 6:30 PM, September 12 at 8:00 PM, September 13 at 2:00 PM, and September 14 at 9:00 PM.

Theater for the New City (Johnson Theater), 155 First Ave.
Presented by Theater for the New City (Crystal Field, Artistic Director) as part of the Dream Up Festival 2015.

Tickets $20
Box office: (212) 254-1109, Purchase Tickets Online
Runs: 50 minutes.

For more information and updates, check out their webisite + follow them on social media.

Website: SistersKeeperPlay.com

Twitter: @SisKeeperPlay

Facebook: facebook.com/SistersKeeperPl

Instagram: @SistersKeeperPlay