Memoirs of a Forgotten Man – Play – Review – Thalia’s Umbrella

@showsiveseen "Memoirs of a Forgotten Man" #play by Thalia's Umbrella at 12th Ave Arts. Fascinating premise. Descriptive script. Well-devised unexpected ending twist that brought everything together. Delightful, lively, convincing, delivery from @Patrick. Closes this weekend! Review: Playwright: DW Gregory Stage Manager: @Rik Deskin and Phillip James Randall Director: Terry Edward Moore Photos: Annabel Clark #showsiveseen #theatre #memory #USSR #soviet #sovietUnion #russia #synesthesia ♬ original sound – Shows I've Seen

Elevator Thoughts (aka Tweet): Memoirs of a Forgotten Man play by Thalia’s Umbrella at 12th Ave Arts. Fascinating premise. Descriptive script. Well-devised unexpected ending twist that brought everything together. Delightful, lively, convincing delivery from Patrick Harvey.

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Synopsis from the Theatre: Alexei is an extraordinary man: he has a perfect memory. But he is a journalist in Stalin’s Russia, and when the State tells him to forget someone, he can’t…and then he disappears. A Soviet official is searching for him, and the official tries to enlist the help of the psychologist who studied him. But are the official’s reasons political or personal? or both? A slippery examination of the connections between memory and identity, Memoirs of a Forgotten Man is a celebration of a remarkable man–but it also counts the costs we pay when the State decides what the truth is.

Attended Performance Date: Opening Weekend 2/24/24 – Keep your eyes peeled for my preview posts on my website and social media if you want earlier notification of shows I’ve seen. Get your tickets now since the show ends this weekend!

Type: Play

World Premiere: No

Several or Few Scenes: Several

Several or Few Settings/Locations: Several

Static (Stationary) Set? Yes

Prior Exposure/Knowledge Required: You should know a little general Soviet Union history like from world history class.

Defined Plot/Storyline: Yes, but it wasn’t linear. The story was presented in flashbacks.

Equity Actors: 3

Total Number of Actors: 4

Perceived Pace of the Show: The show started with a decent hook then proceeded to slow dialogue. Eventually, the script recovered its stride during the first flashback.

Length (Including Any Intermission): 2.5 hours

Was there an intermission? Yes

Was This the First Time I Attended a Production of this Show? Yes

Would I See It Again 3 Years from Now? Probably not, but it was good.

Other Rave(s) Not Mentioned Above

  • Ending (No Spoiler): For the longest time, I didn’t understand Kreplev’s (played by Jon Lutyens) motivation. Throughout the show, I thought his fixation on Alexei (played by Patrick Harvey) didn’t make sense. The playwright (D.W. Gregory) eventually brought it all together in a well-written sad ending epiphany. However, I still don’t quite understand the reason behind Alexei’s permeant actions at the end. Was it to prevent pain?
  • Favorite Line: Alexei interestingly asked if Dr Berezina (played by Sunam Ellis) wrote things down to forget (similar to a swapfile for any tech brahs reading this) or to remember.
  • Memory: Patrick Harvey (as Alexei) convincingly portrayed a person with photographic memory and perfect recall. He effectively led the audience to believe/feel that he really memorized the lines on-stage in only a couple seconds. It was so fascinating that I had to look up after the show if his character was based on a real person. When Alexei’s mother (played by Leslie Law) wanted to reminisce about the past, it was sweet (and an interesting premise) how she asked her son to vividly describe what he remembered with exact detail.

Other Musing(s) and Observation(s)

  • The Lower Depths: It was serendipidous that this script mentioned The Lower Depths on a night that Intiman Theatre was actually performing the play a couple blocks away!
  • Photo Album: Why did Alexei’s mother blot out faces in the photo album?

Theatre Company: Thalia’s Umbrella

Venue: 12th Ave Arts

Venue Physical Address: 1620 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Price: Cheap to medium


Ticket Affordability Options: TodayTix/Goldstar

Dates: February 22 to March 9, 2024

Seating: General Admission

Parking: Paid lot or paid street parking. Street parking is extremely limited since it’s Capitol Hill. Even if you can find street parking, it often costs more than some parking lots. I highly recommend the paid lot at 1300 E Olive St with the entrance on 14th Ave.

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Pictures: See pictures below and in video above by Annabel Clark.

Sunam Ellis. Photo by Annabel Clark.
Patrick Harvey, Jon Lutyens, and Sunam Ellis. Photo by Annabel Clark.
Patrick Harvey. Photo by Annabel Clark.
Leslie Law. Photo by Annabel Clark.
Jon Lutyens. Photo by Annabel Clark.

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