To Remember or To Forget

Elizabeth Ramos, Danielle Alonzo, Maki Borden

 

 

By Marcina Zaccaria

 

The stage is a fall-out shelter that looks like a large shed, enclosed in metal, with sand on the sides and a desert plant in the distance. The coating of metal contrasts with bright green. Music loops. In a scented land, where time has little meaning, Georgina Escobar’s Then They Forgot About the Rest begins.

Directing by David Mendizábal is a hyperkinetic dance. While the spoken words of Playwright Georgina Escobar can be performed as a wild, free form fantasy, the staging is perfectly in sync, even through moments of mania or rage. Actors vanish, in what sometimes looks like a high speed chase, featuring running and surprise appearances and disappearances.

Jeanie Rosenblum (Renata Friedman) begins her journey in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Led by her sister, Sybil Roseblum (Mindy Escobar-Leanse), it will be a long path to “recollect” her past. Dr. Robert Locke appears in a long, white coat. He explains that there is treatment in the form of a pill call Alleviate. If Jeanie signs into treatment, they can use Alleviate to keep out the bad memories and consider the good ones. Played so skillfully by Gabriel Marin, Dr. Locke explains his role with Big Pharma. His smooth, calm demeanor makes him a largely empathetic player in the larger world of emotionally wrecked people.

 

Renata Friedman, Gabriel Marin

Later, at an advertising agency called The Rest, Sebastian, played by Maki Borden, lives to create his graphics. He reveals a notebook of Artwork (originally created by Playwright Georgina Escobar). He’ll be greeted by young colleagues. As they attempt to conduct meetings, all breaks loose. Though some moments at The Rest have an innocent kind of jubilance, the wandering characters often look confused, existing in their own panic room. The stage erupts with flashing lights, creating a designer’s paradise for the stage by Cha See and Scenic Designers, Christopher and Justin Swader. It includes a television, adding a dimension of live, performance art. What the ensemble cannot bear reoccurs.

Later, the world of the agency coalesces with Jeanie’s memory space. There was a death of her child. There is an attempt to train the mind to move on, by repeating the death in a different form, and then asking Jeanine to process the loss. While we wish for memory to lead to definitive action, or a causal chain of events that will progress to something better, the characters in Then They Forgot About the Rest mostly implode. Jeanie’s realizations never find the potent sense of calm that one would wish for in full recovery.

 

Danielle Alonzo, Jacqueline Guillen

 

The act of witnessing can feel cathartic, for those who have endured unmistakable tragedy. Though experiencing the heights of this production was sometimes jarring, Then They Forgot About the Rest is surreal and inventive, built for those unburdened by the confines of more traditional drama.

Photos: Carol Rosegg

 

Then They Forgot About the Rest will be playing until May 12 at INTAR, located at 500 W. 52nd Street, 4th Floor, in NYC.

Share