Review: Memories of Over-Development (online)

The Workshop Theater in Manhattan has made this piece of digital theatre available until 17 August on-demand. Written by Caridad Svich and directed by Thomas Coté, Memories of Over-Development has a documentary and intimate feel.

“This play is a film: a documentary about what people remember about dictatorships where they grew up and how they left and how they survived. An enactment of eight startling, personal interviews, inspired by true stories.”

There is a cast of diverse characters as inspiration, played by Vivia Font (filmmaker), Margaret Odette (artist), Frank Wood (shopkeeper), Victor Almanzar (friend), Annie Henk (professor), Keren Lugo (dancer), Bhavesh Patel (clerk) and Ava Yaghmaie (student). All make a significant impact.

Issues around what is home, what is promised, around law and order and poverty, freedom, capitalism and tyranny, and belonging are all explored through reference to nameless states and regimes.

The breaking of the fourth wall challenges our perceptions and prejudices about what is happening across the globe. We are often subjected to ‘news’ which is fake at worst or fashioned at best to appeal to a particular sensibility.

Ethically, do we engage with these stories to do good, or for titillation or power? And can memories, even of those who were present, be trusted if people survive by not seeing?

Svich’s play challenges us through a complex series of statements on the perceived effects of tyranny and rules. David Rona’s minimal music sets the tone of this absorbing piece of theatre which will get you thinking.

You can purchase a ticket to view Memories of Over-Development here until 15 August.