A Play Most Memorable
on Many Counts
You Will Remember Me eloquently deals with Alzheimer’s
By Byron Toben
What a wonderful play on a sad but important subject! And what a notable cast to bring it to life!
Whether it’s the aging of society or industrial pollution or both or something yet to be discovered, there is growing dementia in Western society, of which 60 to 70% is diagnosed as Alzheimer’s. Although German Dr. Alois Alzheimer named that condition back in 1906, there have been relatively few plays or films dealing with memory deterioration until recently.
Now, in the last four or five years, you have Florian Heller’s The Father, Nicola Wilson’s Plaques and Tangles and Barney Norris’s Visitors. Welcome to the crowd Quebec’s own Francois Archambault with the first English Quebec presentation of his internationally acclaimed You Will Remember Me deftly translated by Bobby Theodore.
What a coup for the Centaur to snag Jean Marchand to play the key role of Edouard, a history teacher and frequent TV history expert given to pontification. He is joined by stage wife Madeleine (Stratford vet Lally Cadeau) as she and daughter Isabelle (Johanna Nutter) struggle to accommodate his increasing forgetfulness, aided by Isabelle’s current boyfriend, Patrick (Charles Bender) and reluctantly, Patrick’s teen-age daughter, Berenice (Amanda Silveira).
Somehow, amidst the arguments and revelations, there is a lot of humour and some sage advice.
Eo Sharp’s set design, incorporating massive tree trunks, lends a suggestion of lost surroundings.
Somehow, amidst the arguments and revelations, there is a lot of humour and some sage advice. To me, one lesson of the play was to live for the moment. Shades of Sartre and Existentialism!
It also triggered for me, the lesser-known chapter of Gulliver’s Travels, wherein Gulliver visits a kingdom where no one ever dies. The trade off is they all become blind, deaf and feeble. This contrasts with Knock On Any Door wherein hood Nick Romano wishes to “Live fast, die young and make a good looking corpse!”
This is the last play to be directed at the Centaur by artistic director Roy Surette who, after a successful ten-year run, returns to continue his career in his native Vancouver. We’ll miss him… but we WILL remember him and his superb contributions to the local theatrical scene.
You Will Remember Me continues at the Centaur until Thursday, April 2.
Information and tickets at 514 892-7559 or centaurtheatre.com
Images: Andrée Lanthier
Byron Toben is the immediate past-president of the Montreal Press Club