Memory – 505 Theatres Fresh Works
Old 505 Theatre / Fresh Works
Fresh Works is currently on at The Old 505 theatre. You can grab tickets here.
Interactive theatre is one of those little life experiences that can leave you with a sudden shortness of breath, grasping at your chest as your head screams “oh dear god – not me!” It causes an immediate confront with our comfortable walls and our tentatively constructed place in our tiny social circle whose flimsy barricades take countless hours and constant diligence to cultivate. If theatre is an urgent encounter with our constructed reality (and I think it always is) then surely it makes sense to interrupt our constructed reality? But whether we are hyper conditioned by the passivity of cinema and television or whether we’re just as terrified of exposure today as we always have been, there is no doubt that the words “just place this blindfold on” immediately after the words “Welcome to tonight’s production” sends us into a confused spiral that accompanies all life’s little horrors, such as being led by a stranger who has an agenda for you, trust in a process you can’t control and a crises of possible ridicule.
Jade Allen, Sepy Baghaei and Scott Parker are aware of these discomforts and construct their production Memory out of a gentleness of response, but also the firmness of resolve that this sort of leadership insists on. Their production Memory is a chance for each individual to have an intimate experience of what it is like to remember (even the most mundane things that happened to you that day) and how much we rely on that as both the way we judge the world and the way we judge ourselves. After the blindfolds are in place, in a world of darkness, each audience member (and they keep the show short and the numbers low) is invited to answer a series of questions regarding memories that have formed them. Name a time you were embarrassed, name a time you were happy, what is your earliest experience of emotion etc. Time for reflection is given, but even more interesting, the body language and speech patterns of the audience member are analysed to produce a small feedback loop that each of the audience members gets a chance to sit back and listen to at the end. Some of us get to hear ourselves, others of us get to hear ourselves and a few of the others. As we relate our memory, we hesitate, construct and create, as if we are intuitively aware memory is a carefully constructed essential foundation of our own artificial world. This small excercise tells us a great deal about our relationship to history and about the fact that history is never, ever neutral.
Of particular interest is our immediate fascination with our own voice and how we can dupe ourselves into thinking we are enthralling. It can be charming but it is definitely essential to remind ourselves we are not the centre of the universe – even our own.
Between the creation of these retellings of personal histories is a brief encounter (blindfolded) with a table of containers we are free to touch and explore in response to our memory. You can feel your way, smell your way and taste your way around this table, which provides an interesting encounter with memory as a tool for making small yet essential decisions in our day. One again finds a confrontation with the “real” occurs when the comfort of visual memory is removed, and it is almost impossible to tell what is in our hands without the aid of several of our other senses. Can you know cooked rice just from feeling it? Can you know the difference between talc and coca without tasting? The limits of our memory and our role in building what it is really telling us comes alive in these small simple exercises.
there are many reasons to go to the theatre, but we always hope to confront ourselves at some level. With Memory, Suitcase Civilians have placed you on centre stage and given you a first class chance to take a good look at your naked self.
Memory is part of the Fresh Works mini festival currently on at 505 theatre.