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What is the sum of us Are we as Australians more than beer and cricket As Australian artists more than a floundering voice struggling for independence from our European and American counterparts Are we more than the sum of our familial parts Or is that precisely who we are Playwright Hannie Raysons HOTEL SORRENTO seeks to address these heady questions via an examination of the dynamics of the Moynihan family terrain as diverse volatile and complex as Australia itself At the core of the family indeed the play are three sisters a three-pronged relationship many a famous playwright has chosen to explore Hilary the eldest is a single mother who has never left Sorrento tending to their ageing father while raising her son alone after the death of her husband Meg the middle sister has dusted the dirt of Australia from her soul and relocated to England where she lives with her British husband Edwin and has since penned a critically praised novel called Melancholy Pippa is the youngest a vibrant neophyte New Yorker who has returned to her homeland with the assignment of peddling American margarine on our shores Although the three are outwardly civil it is clear from the onset of the action that something is amiss Is it that Megs Melancholy is a thinly disguised account of their lives together Or is it something buried deeper simply arrested from its dormancy by Megs fiction The gradual unveiling of closeted skeletons along with an unexpected family tragedy propels the disparate sisters simmering discontent toward a dangerous boil Thrown into the mix are Marge Morrissey and Dick Bennett two long-time friends who delight in intellectual sparring while on regular visits to Marges holiday home at Sorrento These seemingly peripheral characters are quite pivotal serving as both philosophical and emotional counterpoint to the Moynihan women Marges affection for Megs novel which leads quickly to a protracted interest in the family
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