It’s not so amazing that the Delany sisters could remember life under Jim Crow. What’s amazing is that, when interviewed by the New York Times in 1991, they could remember life before Jim Crow. Daughters of a man born into slavery, Sadie—a retired schoolteacher—was 102 years old at the time, and Dr. Bessie—a dentist—had just turned 100. The article developed into a best-selling book, which spawned a play, now being staged by Halo Wines at the Olney Theatre Center. Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years is essentially the title characters telling stories about their lives while puttering around the stage, making their late father’s favorite meal. One of their earliest memories was of the day around 1900 when the family went to picnic in a public park in their hometown of Raleigh, N.C., and found that things had changed. The first shock came when the girls, used to sitting up front to catch the breeze, were asked to sit in the back of the streetcar. And when they got to the park, there was another surprise—the spring from which visitors drew water was now divided by a plank, one side for whites and the other for “colored.” Feisty young Bessie, as defiant as her hero, W.E.B. Du Bois (whom she would later get to know), drew the Delany picnic’s water from the white side. The sisters lived together from 1917, when Bessie established her dental practice in Harlem, until her death in Mount Vernon, N.Y., in 1995. (That neither ever married is one of their secrets of longevity—there were no husbands “to worry us to death.”) Their deep connection is reflected in their gentle, obviously habitual arguments—over who makes the gravy, for instance—and in the frequency with which when they finish a story in unison. Claudia Robinson (Sadie) and Gloria Sauvé (Bessie) manage to simultaneously embody the frailty and vitality of these centenarians. Treading cautiously in orthopedic shoes, they subtly lean on the furniture as they bustle around preparing dinner. But then the sisters explode in righteous indignation or laughter as they recall this outrage or that misadventure. Designer Harry Feiner’s set, cluttered with old-fashioned kitchenware, faded chair cushions, and a nice dining-room set, supports the impression that things in this house have been accumulated over many years, some hard times, some good. The evening will bring few surprises for those who have read the book, but like the book, the play recounts the horrors of American apartheid with humor and dignity. —Janet Hopf