Three sisters who grow up in the same household have completely different memories of what they experienced. So much so that, when they return home to bury their mother, they are like aliens to each other.

That's the concept of "The Memory of Water," the comic drama opening March 9 at Rochester Repertory Theatre.

"These three sisters are so terribly different, you'd never know they grew up in the same household," said Jeanne Skattum, who is directing the show.

Teresa, the oldest, is into homeopathic medicine and carries a grudge. "She feels she's the one who ended up taking care of mom, and she's not happy about it," Skattum said.

Mary, the middle sister, is a physician. Her sisters see her as spoiled and self-centered. Meanwhile, the youngest sister, Catherine, has never been able to get her act together. Her sisters tend to tune her out.

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"Getting these three together to deal with something as sensitive as burying their mother is chaos," Skattum. "In some senses, it's hysterically funny, in other senses it's terribly sad."

Skattum has an experienced cast with which to work: Kathy Keech, Kelly Hain and Beth Regener play the sisters, with Merri Bremer as their mother. Matt Derby and Scott Koon are also in the cast.

The play, by British playwright Shelagh Stephenson, takes its title from the homeopathic idea that water remembers and retains healing properties. Similarly, Skattum said, "We retain what is important for us and meaningful to live our lives."

In the case of these sisters, though, "What they remember about their childhood and growing up is totally different."

Skattum has chosen to retain Stephenson's British references and with British accents. "For me, as a director," she said, "if you can make it work, then make it work."

The play is not appropriate for those younger than 15 due to language and adult topics, Skattum said.

What: "The Memory of Water"

When: March 9 through March 25; 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. March 25

Where: Rochester Repertory Theatre, 103 Seventh St. NE

Tickets: $22 adults, $20 senior citizens and students ($18 on Thursdays); 507-289-1737 and