Written by Ashleigh Cox
The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful play about a man’s memory fading with Alzheimer’s and how it appears from his point of view. Theatre Re performed the piece at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on November 12th and it was quite a memorable event!
This play was absolutely beautiful to watch from the audience. I was emotionally invested in the opening scene when Tom called his daughter by her mother’s name. The audio became distorted with an echo and it sounded distant as the phrase ‘dark blue coat’ was repeated when it shifted into Tom’s memories.
There was joyful music when Tom was remembering his childhood days in school and hanging out with his friends. However, the music abruptly stopped or became eerie when Tom remembered something incorrectly. The other three actors froze and Young Tom was very confused. He kept repeating the action, hoping it would continue as he remembered it. The play only kept moving when he remembered correctly, which took longer and longer each time they used his method of showing his memory slipping.
They also used lighting to signify shifts. The shift that sticks out the most to me is when the memories switch from All four characters to just Tom and Isabella. Each time, he looks at her and she turns away from him a few times. It seemed to me like they were showing the memory of Isabella dying, possibly in a car crash from the way she was using the desk as a steering wheel and when someone yelled “watch out!” during one of the fragments.
My favorite part was the closing scenes. After Tom becomes frantic and frustrated by his poor memory, he throws the clothes everywhere. Then, his daughter walked in with the other two characters and the cake. The lights went out and Tome called her “Sophie” for the first time and blew out the candles. I felt actual goosebumps when that happened and felt it was a beautiful ending.
Getting Alzheimer’s is a fear of mine and this play illustrated why. It seems incredibly sad to live your entire life and then not be able to remember it. It’s also very emotionally painful for the other people involved to watch someone they care about slowly lose their hold on their memories.
All in all, it was a wonderful performance and is tied with Home for my favorite one so far!