Humana: How much do you remember?

One of the 2010 Humana Festival shows is a collective work (with its roots in the brilliant folks from the now defunct Theatre de la Jeune Lune), Fissures (lost and found), an evocative, poetic piece about memory — teaching us, among other things that each time we try to remember something, we lose half the memory. That’s a scary thought for critics, since the act of writing about theater is heavily dependent on memory and our ability to reconstruct something we’ve seen onstage. Like some of us, I take notes while I watch, although I often don’t refer to them — and just as often cannot read what I’ve written in the dark. How do you remember things you want to write when you’re watching a show? How do you remember anything? I’m always jotting notes to myself as reminders to buy ink for my printer or orange juice for breakfast. If I lose the note, the task is lost, too — until it’s time to print or have breakfast.

Curiously, Sirens, the first show I saw in Louisville on Friday, is about a mature man struggling to remember a melody he heard (or maybe wrote) long before. Deborah Zoe Laufer’s funny romantic comedy was totally unlike Fissures, even though both were presented in the arena-style Bingham Theatre. Memory can be a tricky thing. And can get us into trouble, as Sam (Brian Russell) learns in this winning piece.

Now, where did I put my tickets?

Rick Pender, Cincinnati CityBeat