Theater Re’s performance wows the crowd.
written by Allison Spillane
Memory is an integral part of being human. Our identity is based on our personal experiences, in our own growth and changes. Theater Re’s performance shows a take at what it can be like to have a personality interrupted by memory loss. This was particularly interesting to me because I have family members who have trouble remembering from age-related mental deterioration, and it was both insightful and moving to see that experience from another angle.
The greatest feat in this performance was the astounding ways that the cast and crew made strong distinctions between memory and the present. The present was set with very traditional stage spotlights, with normal movements and vocals. The acting that the two characters in the present had was loving, but somewhat sad. This is in direct opposition with how the past was portrayed. There was varying musical accompaniments to the fluctuating scenes, even sometimes cutting into loud white noise as traumatic memories came to mind.The actors were dynamic and even occasionally jagged as memories flowed and cut in amongst each other. The set pieces were few, and reused the whole show, but were recycled in various ways to portray many different scenarios all throughout a lifetime.
Both this show, and Home by Geoff Sobelle show a lifetime on stage. The set is used a general idea of location, but the true emotion and heart of the memories of one’s life comes from the actors and their interactions. The audience was able to connect their own experiences and their own feelings to what was happening on stage. This is where Home and the Nature of Forgetting disembark from one another. In Home, the main purpose was to have the audience reflect on the meaning of a home, what it is and what it means to them specifically. This notion was accomplished by a level of audience participation that I have never seen rivaled in a formal setting such as this performance. The audience members were part of the performance, from eating party foods, to helping hang decorations, to being pulled onto stage and joining the performance, every person in that theater was part of the home that those actors created. This is vastly different from Nature of Forgetting. In that the show was more somber, somewhat of a look inside someone else’s experience. By taking a peek into this particular individual’s life, we are able to see how a life can be moulded and then shattered by the disruption of the mind and of memory. The life is not represented chronologically, but rather is snippets and shreds to give the chaotic and confusing experience to the audience. As one man forgets his present, the audience learns his past.