I Forgot to Remember to Forget

For the first time in Adelaide after a sell-out season at the True Colours Festival in Singapore 2018. An exciting collaboration co-created by performers from No Strings Attached who share their own lived experiences of acquiring a disability through illness, injury or birth.

With touching insight, I Forgot to Remember to Forget explores resilience, how we deal with and accept change, how sometimes we have to re-learn everything and how sometimes we forget it all. It is a reminder of our responsibility as friends, family and a society to remember the value and place of the individual in community, even when they themselves might not remember any more. Simply beautiful. The play’s director Alirio Zavarce answers some questions about the performance for Hi Fi Way.

Is everyone excited in the lead-up to these seven shows?
Yes, absolutely! This theatre piece is so special for all of us. It is not only the first time we get to perform the show in Adelaide after a sell-out season in Singapore, but also the return of No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability to the Adelaide Festival Centre stage. This is only the second time in the 25-year history of the company that we have performed at the Space Theatre. The first time we did was with Sons & Mothers. It is also the return of the amazing Michaela Cantwell to the Festival Centre. I Forgot to Remember to Forget is one of the most beautiful pieces of theatre I have ever had the pleasure to create and collaborate in. So yeah, the whole team is super excited.

How have rehearsals gone?
Fantastically, I am so proud of the cast and team. We have had absolutely amazing time in the rehearsal room.

What is your show I Forgot to Remember to Forget about?
I Forgot to Remember to Forget is all about memory, how we remember and forget things. We all forget things, maybe just the keys or your mobile phone. This is a beautiful collaboration that explores resilience, how we deal with and accept change, how sometimes we have to re-learn everything and how sometimes we forget it all. It is a reminder of our responsibility as friends, family and society to remember the value and place of the individual in the community, even when they themselves might not remember any more.

I love using autobiographical material; it’s a style I have been working with since Sons & Mothers. You could call it ‘Documentary Theatre’. Everything has been co-created and co-designed by each of the artists in the piece: Michaela Cantwell, Kathryn Hall, Cassie Litchfield, Kym Mackenzie and Duncan Luke. It is all based on their voices, it is true collaboration and we have created the world of ‘I Forgot’ together.

Michaela Cantwell has an incredible body of work as an actor and theatre-maker with Brink and STCSA and so many other companies across Australia. We started to collaborate and talk about the process of where is she now and how is she has been recovering from her stroke. So, we got really excited about creating a piece that would share with an audience how is it like to re-invent yourself and relearn things all over again. We explore what it’s like to forget things and how to deal with things that you remember but can’t do anymore.

Another amazing performer and collaborator is Kathryn Hall. She’s brilliant and has shared how there are also moments where she forgets things. She might be on the bus and think: “Oh, am I going to or coming from the city?”

So, we started the process by examining memory and how do we forget things and how we remember things, which is something we all do but there are things which exacerbate it whether through illness or accidents or medication. It has been great to develop a performing style that allows us to play with forgetting in the world of theatre where everything is about remembering.

What messages do you hope people take away from the performance?The show has a beautiful journey for the audience and it is very funny, playful and it will also touch your heart. I think it will help people see their memories and memory loss from a different perspective and the importance that we have in each other’s lives as we live in each other’s memories.

How important has this production and your company in giving opportunity and building confidence to perform on stage for the cast who live with a disability?
For 25 years No Strings Attached has been redefining disability. No Strings is a world-class theatre company that proudly works exclusively with performers with a lived experience of disability. Our award-winning productions deeply move audiences to the point where disability disappears.

At No Strings, we believe in breaking the ‘fifth wall’ – the barriers associated with disability. We entertain while we empower and we celebrate ability while being committed to excellence and innovation. By letting ability shine through, we’re challenging expectations and educating society to achieve true inclusion. Our theatre showcases the power of diversity and acceptance, where disability doesn’t define

Would this be the most satisfying production you have been involved with?
I find it really hard to compare but I can tell you that I Forgot To Remember To Forget is a really beautiful piece of theatre. It makes something so intangible like memory and forgetting, tangible. It will touch you and it will make people see their own memories and experiences of forgetting and remembering from a new perspective. I can try to explain it but like anything, you have to experience it and live the stories with us so you can really understand and how relevant it is to everyone. This is a theatre piece of our times talking about our lives and proudly made in South Australia.

Beyond these shows what’s next for No Strings Attached?
We are currently developing “ReConnect2019” and our 25th Anniversary Celebration and we are working on our exciting program for 2020. Everything we do starts in a workshop. We have a terrific workshops program that is tailored to the needs, abilities and skills of each participant, with professional theatre mentors who consult and collaborate with all the performers to explore themes and ideas to create award-winning theatre. You can come and try these for free – everyone is welcome. Regular workshop programs run weekly throughout school terms, with The Troupe running on Tuesday nights and The Studio on Saturday mornings. Other groups are convened in response to demand and you can find all the information by visiting our website at www.nostringsattached.org.au

Interview By Rob Lyon

For performance dates, times and tickets head to the Adelaide Festival Centre website

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