Yet another show that unexpectedly charmed me at Fringe-For-All
(man, I guess it was a better showcase overall than I felt like when I was sitting through it. Hmmm… don’t worry, there will be blood. Later…)
“When retrograde amnesia from a car accident blocked out six years of Donny’s life, he left high school. Now he’s back for a house party, but when you don’t have your own memories, whose can you believe?”
I was curious about this one since reading its previous blurb at the Fringe lottery back in February, when it was just called “Brain Injury” (newer title is great, by the way)…
“In the bedroom of a party, old friends catch up with a kid who left their school then lost his memory.”
It’s just such a wonderfully awkward premise, and the ensemble approached it in a loose, goofy way that completely disarmed me.
So the preview starts with our slacker/stoner dude narrator speaking to the audience as he passes out those red plastic cups that are required at any kegger to the audience members in the front row.
There’s a girl sitting in an enormous plastic bin, which we find out later is supposed to be a bathtub. She has had a few too many mushrooms and is contemplating the universe.
The narrator gives us the backstory, well, as many details as he can recall anyway. There was an accident (“His mom died or something.”) and Donny lost 4th through 10th grade from his memory. He switched to a new school to start over, but when graduation rolled around, he came back to his old school for their send-off party, which the slacker narrator thinks was a really cool thing for Donny to do. Even though the whole situation is supremely odd.
Donny and his former girlfriend sit on the porch together. He doesn’t remember her. She knows it’s not his fault, it’s nothing personal, but it still hurts to be forgotten.
They approach these strange moments in a straightforward way, as devoid of sentimentality as Donny is devoid of memory, letting the audience decide how they feel about it. And just when things might slide into being maudlin, up pops some weird kid to try and bond with Donny. Who, of course, Donny doesn’t remember. But this doesn’t deter his “old buddy” from being really happy to see him. Maybe it’s the red plastic cups talking.
The slacker narrator admits, “I don’t have memory loss, and even I don’t remember who the hell that guy is.”
It’s sort of every rite of passage/end of school story, turned on its head. I really enjoyed the quirky sensibility of it all.
Their website wasn’t there when I checked a week or so ago, but it’s up now. Not entirely fixed, some links are wonky, but the stuff that is there is engaging. It reminded me how I’m struggling to redesign my own website currently. Some makeshift production/publicity photos (as if they were taken at that party in the play – someone sitting on a washing machine, etc.) And the video links for the characters aren’t video clips from the play, they’re clips that the characters might enjoy, or the way they view the situation in the play. They’re random mood pieces, which is an intriguing idea. It’s worth poking around in, go visit.
Like I said, I was leaning toward this one anyway, but the preview sealed it. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here, and the touch is light and funny without being superficial. It could end up being one of my favorite bits of Fringe. Stranger things have happened.
Their website – http://sites.google.com/site/irememberyoutheminnesotafringe/