Working outside the lines of naturalism, “In Memory,” follows the story of 27 year-old Deon (Amanda Peters), as she struggled to awake from a coma following a horrible accident. The play took place inside the mind of young Deon and offered the audience an opportunity to engage in theater in a different way.
While she fought to regain consciousness, Deon’s mind was in a state of suspension, as it hung between the real world and the world inside of her head.
Outside of her mind, the audience was greeted with the bickering voices of Deon’s step siblings, played by hand puppets and a kindly nurse as they stood over her body. Inside her mind, the audience was introduced to four historical figures that were critical to the play’s artistically independent success. These characters included figures such as Frédéric Chopin, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and George Sand; as well as Russell Blackwell, a 20th century anarchist and activist involved in the Spanish Civil War.
The performance offered wonderful visual appeal. The cast communicated not only through dialogue but through movement and dance as well in a unique and experimental way you’ll find hard to forget.
Throughout the play, there were several visually captivating moments. In one section of the production, the cast performed skillfully with large red hoops tossing them back and forth across the stage in a pattern; in another section they performed with a large blue cloth, and passionately thrust themselves across the stage repeatedly.
In addition to the visual simulation of the play, the production was also musically stimulating. There were several occasions throughout the show, in which the audience was able to indulge in the beautiful sound of live piano. Robert Boston, in charge of original music and sound design as well as the actor playing Chopin dazzled the audience with his seasoned talent as he played several Chopin pieces during the show.
Though it could’ve been slightly confusing to some without a reference to follow, In Memory was an overall success. It required close attention to fully comprehend, consciously. However, there were several other aspects to the play that occurred with ease subconsciously and affected the audience.
With a running time of approximately 60 minutes the play seemed to end quickly. However, it was well-paced and held the audience’s attention. vAlthough the production seemed to hold a very cogitative plot, Pau and the cast made the experience delightful and playful in the way that it was written and performed.
“In Memory” offered something for everyone. Perhaps if not intrigued by the actual plot, one could surely have found entertainment in the majestic live music, the engaging movement and dance or perhaps just the light air of humor peppered throughout the play.