When a daughter comes home to care for her aging mother, the pressure starts to build on their turbulent relationship. Forced to live side by side, will they ever reach an understanding as they unravel their conflicting memories of the past? Produced by New Bard Productions and Verse Unbound, this European Premiere of the critically acclaimed contemporary musical presents an honest and bitterly funny portrait of a mother, a daughter and their relationship with cruel realities.
Written by the 2014 Winners of the prestigious Jonathan Larson Award, Redler and Cooper, this production stars Carolyn Maitland (Miss Saigon, From Here to Eternity) and Ruth Redman (Passion Play, Ghosts), with direction by Alex Howarth.
Opening on Thursday 11th February 2016 for a limited run, Carolyn Maitland and Ruth Redman will be starring in the European Premiere of The Memory Show; an Off-Broadway musical by writing duo, Zach Redler and Sara Cooper.
Find out more about the show from the actors and director in this exclusive interview:
What can you tell us about your character?
Ruth: Mother is a strong character. She is a widow who, it seems, had an unhappy marriage. Her relationship with her daughter has, apparently been complex and is still volatile. She has been called “difficult”; a label she does not seem entirely to reject herself! She comes across as opinionated, confrontational and often insensitive. She is also affectionate, funny and expressive. Investigating how much these traits can be attributed to her personality or the effects of her illness is part of what makes her an interesting character to play.
How does your character see the Mother/Daughter relationship?
Ruth: She is devoted to her daughter. The extent of that devotion is a significant theme in the play. However, she is provocative, uncooperative and unreasonable towards her and often seems to delight in being so. She seems to assume her daughter’s loyalty and devotion in return and feels entitled to criticise and undermine her. The funny mixture of pride and love for her daughter and frequent sharp and harsh treatment of her makes for a complex and intriguing portrait of mother and daughter. A reference she makes to her own mother is revealingly tender and wistful.
Carolyn: This piece is predominantly about the relationship of mother and daughter. It is not sugar coated in any way as it incorporates both the highs & lows of a close relationship and faces conflict straight on. Sometimes the story is told through dark humour & at other times it is raw, exposed and heart felt.
What do you like most about this production?
Carolyn: Everyone can connect with The Memory Show’s content in one way or another and I believe it will encourage a lot of reflection. Another layer to The Memory Show is illness, which although carries sadness, in a round about way is a blessing in disguise for this mother and daughter.
I’m delighted to be a part of this relatively unknown piece and I look forward to sharing it with many more people. See you at The Drayton Arms Theatre, 11th-20th February 2016!
Ruth: I’m really enjoying working on the show itself. It’s beautifully layered and truthful, in turns comic, thought provoking and moving. It’s a pleasure sharing the stage with my talented and lovely onstage daughter, Carolyn, as we explore the text and songs. The talent and energy of the whole production team is great to be a part of and it’s stimulating to work towards the realisation of the piece in the simple intimate style and setting it demands.
A Message from Director, Alex Howarth:
“I am really excited to be directing the European Premiere of this brilliant new musical. We have felt a great responsibility working on the piece; not only because it was so successful Off-Broadway and received such excellent reviews, but because we are determined to do the detailed and complex writing and important themes justice. It has been incredibly helpful to have input from Sara and be able to ask her questions about her writing, and we look forward to welcoming Zach to the show in February. Creating and developing new work is my priority as a director, and I am hugely enjoying working on such an original and emotive new work with an excellent team.”
Why should everyone get along to see The Memory Show?
Ruth: ‘The Memory Show’ takes an unusual approach to a serious subject which has recently been explored on stage in different productions. What makes it so unique and engaging is the way that, through the situation of a Mother and Daughter being brought together in an uncomfortable reunion because of Mother’s Alzheimer’s, it actually explores the idea of Memory and what it means to both women. The questions that arise are more to do with what ‘Memory’ means; whose memory is the agreed, or ‘correct’ version of events, and whether or not conflicting and utterly separate memories can live happily together – like Mother and Daughter themselves! They have a brief moment in time together in a kind of suspended animation in Mother’s apartment, and their questions and ideas are explored through snappy dialogue and scenes that really ring true and quirky, beautiful songs that will echo in the mind long after the show is over. I think it’s a funny, touching and, in a strange way, uplifting show.
Daughter Carolyn Maitland
Mother Ruth Redman
Music Zach Redler
Book & Lyrics Sara Cooper
Director Alex Howarth
Music Director Jerome van den Berghe
Lighting Designer Will Monks
Graphic Designer Callum Ritchie
Stage Manager Zhe Cui
Lighting Assistant Rachel Sampley
Production Companies: New Bard Productions Ltd, Verse Unbound Ltd.
Thursday, 11 February 2016 – Saturday, 20 February 2016
The Drayton Arms
153 Old Brompton Road,London,Greater London, SW5 0LJ