BWW Review: MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN MAN at NJ Rep Brings Intrigue to the Long Branch Stage
"What does it mean to be dogged by a persistent memory?"
by Kreplev in Memoirs of a Forgotten Man
New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) is now presenting the National New Play Network Rolling world premiere of D.W. Gregory's Memoirs of a Forgotten Man by through September 15, 2019. This intriguing political thriller, based on a true story, is expertly directed by James Glossman and features an outstanding four-person cast. The intimate setting of NJ Rep's theatre on Broadway in Long Branch is ideal for Gregory's fascinating play.
Memoirs of a Forgotten Man tells of a Soviet Journalist whose uncanny, photographic memory was studied by a psychologist, Natalya in the late 1930's. These were troubling times in Stalin's Russia, as people feared the government and its power to upend lives. Twenty years later, Natalya's documents come under review for publication by a government censor, Kreplev who probes the doctor for information not included in her report. The man who was the subject of Natalya's paper, dubbed Mr. S., has long since disappeared, and there are looming questions about his whereabouts. This mysterious story with its surprising twists deftly addresses issues like propaganda and government oppression while it challenges ideas about memory and the inner workings of the human mind.
The play stars Amie Bermowitz as Natalya/Madame Demidova; Steve Brady as Kreplev/Vasily; Andrea Gallo as Peasant Woman/Miss Markayevna/Mother/Utkin; and Benjamin Satchel as Alexei/the Amazing Azarov. The cast seamlessly assumes multiple roles and they are so convincing in their portrayals, it feels like the story is unfolding in real time.
Scenes will captivate that include Kreplev confronting Natalya about the identity of Mr. S; Alexei demonstrating to Natalya that he can instantly memorize a long list number of numbers; the Mother reminiscing about the past with Alexei; Miss Markayevna prying for gossip; Vasily physically threatening his brother Alexei; and Alexei attempting to forget events rather than remember them.
The NJ Rep Creative and Production Team has done a top job of bringing the show to the Long Branch Stage. They include scenic design by Jessica Parks; lighting design by Jill Nagle; assistant lighting design by Jane E. Huber; costume design by Patricia E. Doherty; and sound design/web master, Merek Royce Press. The Production Stage Manager is Rose Riccardi; Stage Manager/Company Manager, Adam von Pier; Technical Director, Brian Snyder; Artistic Director, Suzanne Barabas; Executive Producer, Gabor Barabas.
We are sure that our readers will want to see Memoirs of a Forgotten Man. At a time when fake news has become believable information for many people, the story puts an interesting and timeless spin on deception.
In his opening night address to the audience, Executive Producer, Gabor Barabas stated, "Our theatre is as vast as the imagination." We agree. The company continues to bring metro area audiences stimulating new theatre productions that go on to be produced worldwide.
Memoirs of a Forgotten Man will be performed through September 15, 2019. The run time is two hours with one 15-minute intermission. New Jersey Repertory Company is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740. Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 PM; Saturdays at 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM; Sundays at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $50. Tickets are subject to a service charge. Annual subscriptions are $225 per person. 3-show Flex Passes, redeemable on Thursday and Friday nights, are $99 per person. For tickets or additional information call 732-229-3166 or visit http://www.njrep.org/.
Photo Credit: Andrea Phox Photography