Memoirs of a Forgotten Man – To Forget or Remember; Which is better?

Reporting the truth can be a dangerous thing to do in certain places and at certain times. And nowhere is this more evident than in the fascinating story of Memoirs of a Forgotten Man presented by Thalia’s Umbrella. Written by D.W. Gregory and Directed by Terry Edward Moore, this production was performed at 12th Avenue Arts and opened this weekend.

Taking place in Moscow, in 1957, the story follows Dr. Berezina as she recalls her meetings back in 1937 with her associate Alexi, whose perfect recollection and memory caused him to suddenly disappear. A  Soviet official enlists Berezina’s help to find Alexi and figure out exactly what happened to him in this incredible story of the connections between memory and identity.

The setting of each scene was rather basic, with little to no set dressing or props. In fact, for most scenes, the only props in the room were a single table and some papers. The performances by the four actors, (Patrick Harvey, Jon Lutyens, Sunam Ellis, and Leslie Law) were the biggest highlights of the whole show. Each role they played caught my undivided attention and kept it throughout the entire play.

There was one moment in particular that stood out to me when watching the play. In this scene, Dr. Berezina is being asked a series of questions regarding the paper she submitted regarding Alexi, whom she names on her paper as Mr. S. Because there are very little props used or any form of set dressing, the scene heavily relies on the actors’ range to help build the tensness of the scene. After all, at this point, we still do not know whether to trust this government official in his statements or not. After all, if Berezina is untrusting and suspicious of him, why shouldn’t we?

The lighting and sound design of the show was also very great; a great job to Roberta Russell, Jae Hee Kim, and Kyle Thompson for their amazing contributions. Their use of colors throughout the play was very fascinating to watch. At several points during the show, Alexi describes sounds and smells through various interesting descriptions, mainly using color. whenever he says a [articluar color, the background lighting would change to the color he described, which I thought was very clever and helped with the atmosphere of the scene.

The costume design was very clever as well. As there are only four actors and each one plays multiple parts, the actors must quickly change in and out of costumes. Despite this challenge, The costumes were well made and tell which time this story takes place in as well as telling us who these characters are.

Overall, Memoirs of a Forgotten Man is a truly outstanding show that I highly recommend to young adults and elders. Performances are scheduled on February 22nd through March 9th, 2024, at the Studio at 12th Avenue Arts.

 

Memoirs of a Forgotten Man, 12th Avenue Arts, 1620 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122. Tickets available at www.thaliasumbrella.org or https://thaliamemoirs.brownpapertickets.com/.

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