Making Strange Theatre Company live up to their name in their current production, You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True. Here memory is made strange in a one-woman performance that charts the efforts of Megan Riordan to recover lost memories. Specifically, memories lost when the contents of her storage unit in New York were auctioned off due to a problem with her credit card. Following a period of denial she set out to recover those memories, and perhaps part of herself, by revisiting the places and people that inspired them. In what follows a cerebral, thought-provoking cocktail is mixed with plenty of insight, a touch of humor and lashings of hipster angst.
Created by Riordan with director Dodd Loomis, You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True, often feels like a very slick science dissertation and works best when it takes this approach. Indeed Riordan’s own story fails to land in any meaningful way, serving mainly as a catalyst for her thoughts and reflections. The woman behind the story only begins to truly emerge near the end. If this maintains the focus on the information and insights being imparted, the feeling of an opportunity lost remains.
As she talks, sings, repeats and reflects Riordan’s timing is flawless throughout and her delivery perfectly polished. IIo Tarrant’s subtle lighting design and Loomis’ economical direction ensured attention never wavered as Riordan tried to reboot her neural pathways. Collages of pictures, a series of prompt words and several maps adorned the back wall on which Riordan made chalk connections, like synaptic links, in an attempt recover what was lost. A series of wire mobiles containing comments from the audience hung from the ceiling like a constellation of memories or the nerve centers of a brain. Riordan’s ingenious interplay with a slide projector prompted the audience to question what they know, what they think they know and what they may have already forgotten. “Memories,” she tells us, “are lost if we don’t remember, and changed if we do.” So who are we if our memories are not what we think they are?
If story and character are not all they could have been, You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True succeeds as a brilliant investigation of memory, generating as many questions as it answers and provoking the audience to question their own understanding and their own sense of self. “You won’t remember most of your life. How will you live with that?” In You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True, Loomis and Riordan have crafted an intelligent, engaging work that may not appeal to everyone, but which everyone should still go see.
You Remember The Stories You Wish Were True runs at The Project Arts Centre until September 13th. Doors open at 1.00 p.m. Admission is 14.00 euro