Sunday, 28 January 2018

Mnemonic | USW Theatre Through the Telescope

The second play from the Theatre Through the Telescope season was Mnemonic, a play originally created by Complicite (a British physical theatre company) in 1999 and that has been adapted by the company. While I am familiar with Complicite's style, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect and it's fair to say that this was a very interesting and unusual piece. It begins as a sort of lecture, with the cast describing memories of their own as well as explaining how the human memory works, and then flowed into two parallel stories that converge as the play goes on. Sound complicated? At first it was, but over the 1 hour 50 minute performance the links come together to make a surprisingly compelling production.

The play itself consists of a lot of different elements, in terms of both story and set, so it must have been quite a challenging piece to put together, but the company succeeded in flowing almost seamlessly between scenes and moments. Props were versatile, becoming a range of different set pieces, while sound, lighting and visuals helped to separate different moments and settings throughout. I don't think I can pick out any one actor in particular who impressed me - each performer had much to do, playing multiple characters and acting as stagehands - as I think they all did very well to achieve what they did with such an out-there play.

Being honest, I'm not sure I entirely understood the message of the play (I suppose it was about memory, imagination and also history?) but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was different to anything I've seen in a while and I'm really glad I got the chance to check it out.

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