Remember Me – Teachers Club – DIGTF – Review by Robert Dooley
Dates – Mon 9 – Sat 14 @ 7.30, Matinee on Saturday at 2.30
Relocating Michel Tremblay’s Les Anciennes Odeurs from Montreal to Dublin, Remember Me tells the story of two former lovers in 1981 discussing their worries and what was left unspoken during their relationship. Luke returns to seek John Mark’s counsel over the impending loss of his father and the two men fall into an evening of exchanging fears from a loss of identity to a descent into mediocrity all tinged with a sense of what could have been.
Brian Burns plays John Mark, a weary English professor who is the shoulder to cry on amongst all of his friends. Still living in the house he bought with actor Luke, portrayed by Jack Robertson, but now with current partner Paul (scathingly referred to as Natasha by his ex). The action all takes place in John Mark’s study as the men take turns playing confessor. The two characters are opposites in many ways, Luke leads a hedonistic lifestyle of one night stands and instant gratification which is at odds with John Mark’s “all exclusive tyrannical love” which had lead to them parting. Their views on fidelity and how their homosexuality is portrayed to a straight majority during a time when being gay was illegal in Ireland are completely at odds with each other. Despite their differences both share similar issues mainly a deep dissatisfaction with their careers and how that defines them, Luke feels people can’t separate him from the lisping straight man he plays on television whereas John Mark feels that his dreams of being a writer will never be realised due to his lack of bravery. By the conclusion of the play we have learned that both men have been defined as much by each other as by what they are themselves.
The two leads are engaging in their roles bringing a real vulnerability and a few moments of tenderness between the pair. Luke is the more flamboyant of the two, at times falling into a preening and fringe swishing caricature of a tormented thespian. The more understated John Mark comes across as emotionally exhausted leaving the expansive gesturing to his co-star. Both deal well with dialogue that can at times be a touch overwrought.
At times it feels like a greatest hits of themes from a playwright’s handbook with tenuous links between each character’s monologues as opposed to a natural flow of conversation between the two former lovers, more touching on each theme rather than actually meditating on any one topic.
On the whole it is an enjoyable, and at times humorous, 70 minutes which by virtue of attempting to say so much will have something for everyone to relate to.
Categories: Festivals, Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
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