Born at the intersection of art and science, “The Nature of Forgetting” is a moving articulation of the countless dimensions of memory and amnesia, linking science with real life experiences.
Theatre Re brings this production, which features physical theatre and compelling live music, to the Moss Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m.
The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
Theatre Re collaborated with London neuroscientist Kate Jeffery and interviewed people living with dementia to create “The Nature of Forgetting.” Bursting with creativity, joy, and heartache, the performance tells the story of Tom, a middle-aged father struggling in the early stages of dementia. The audience meets Tom on his 55th birthday as his daughter, Sophie, helps him get dressed for his birthday party. What follows is a life-affirming glimpse into Tom’s weakening mind, where broken does not have to mean defeated.
“The Nature of Forgetting” is a journey of shining humanity and the celebration of a life well lived. Ultimately, the piece is not about dementia, but the fragility of life and that eternal “something” everyone shares that is left when memory is gone.
Conceived and directed by Guillaume Pigé, “The Nature of Forgetting” premiered in January 2017 at the London International Mime Festival and was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2017.
Established in 2009, Theatre Re is a London-based international ensemble creating thought-provoking and moving work. Its shows examine fragile human conditions in compelling, physical style, embracing mime, theatre, and live music.
Close collaborations with community groups and experts in different fields, including science, philosophy, and public health, play a crucial part in the ensemble’s development of its work. The name of the company comes from the prefix “re.” It is the “re” of rediscovering and re-imagining, breathing new life into what already exists. Other Theatre Re productions include “Blind Man’s Song;” “The Little Soldiers;” “The Gambler;” “Your Letter, At Last!;” and “gLoved.”
This engagement of Theatre Re is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Prior to the performance, attend a panel discussion exploring questions about memory in the Moss Arts Center Cube. Panelists include Rachel Diana, assistant professor, Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech; Tina King, executive director, New River Valley Agency on Aging; and Rachel Weaver, assistant professor, School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. Moderated by Harald W. Sontheimer, executive director of Virginia Tech’s School of Neuroscience, the discussion begins at 6 p.m. and is presented in partnership with the Lifelong Learning Institute at Virginia Tech. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To guarantee a spot, register online.
Members of Theatre Re will participate in a post-performance discussion and open question-and-answer session moderated by Al Evangelista, post-master of fine arts fellow in Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts, immediately following “The Nature of Forgetting.” Held in the Cube, the event is free and open to the public, but also requires registration, which can be completed online.
During their visit to Blacksburg, members of Theatre Re will conduct a movement-based acting class for theatre arts students at Virginia Tech and present a matinee performance of “The Nature of Forgetting” for Virginia Tech students in neuroscience, psychology, and human development, as well as students in sixth through 12th grades from Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties.
Tickets are $20-45 for general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.