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It should be a time of celebration; it’s Jason’s birthday, however, his wife Hazel has just lost her father to liver cancer and she’s in no mood to celebrate. Riddled with guilt because she didn’t attend the funeral, tensions between the sisters intensify when Jo is violently attacked by her husband Nick.
Lines and Boxes examines the struggle of family over responsibility and deals with the complexity of power dynamics, intra-familial patterns of abuse, and the role of psychological abuse and the snowball effect of isolation. At the core of the story, we see two sisters who are involved in violent and controlling relationships. Although they are clearly distressed about their situation, they struggle to end the cycle and leave their partners.
Hazel stays home looking after the children while Jason works as a second-hand car salesman. Jo, her unhinged sister, works with Nick selling handbags and luggage at various local markets. We discover that Jason and Nick are in the house incapacitated due to alcohol abuse. We never see Jason and Nick, but we feel their presence. Throughout the evening, Jo threatens to reenter the house and taunt the two men, but Hazel wants to keep the peace. We see Hazel and Jo deliberate their marital relationships; they also argue about what they believe each other should do to end this cycle of violence. There are no clear answers; the sisters debate, quarrel and physically assault each other, essentially replicating the actions that they are clearly opposed to.
Jo convinces Hazel that if they don’t take matters into their own hands, they could end up badly hurt, or worse.
We find out that Hazel and Jo are not alone. Over the fence, Hazel’s mysterious neighbour, Beth, hangs on to every wordâ€¦