Arthur Miller’s Danger: Memory! is a collection of two one-act plays that focus on memories, where he examines his own fears of death and dementia. Directed by Nathan Osgood, the two plays follow a set of characters as they attempt to look back at their past and make sense of it. While there are some stand out performances, particularly by the women of the piece, the lack of drama, dated language and static nature of the plays make this an uninteresting production.
The first play, I Can’t Remember Anything is a dialogue between friends Leo (Julian Bird) and Leonara (Deborah Javor), whose affectionate bickering is proof of their years of friendship. As they reminisce about their past, Leonara often chooses to forget things, and her own existence feels insignificant. Meanwhile Leo is more focused on the future and what he plans to do with his own body once he has died. The exchanges between the two are warm and genuine, and their constant quibbling is comedic. Javor is endearing as the poised and headstrong as Leonara, and she is the most enjoyable to watch in the collection of plays. Her calm tone is soothing, yet her powerful delivery presents Leonara’s humour with perfect energy. Bird’s performance compliments Javor’s, enabling her to stand out in this double bill.
Moving on to the the second play, Clara, the theme of memory is still present, but the light-hearted tone of the first dissolves as this becomes more sinister. Albert Kroll (performed by Bird also) is being interrogated by Detective Fine (Anthony Taylor). Albert’s daughter Clara (Kristy Quade) has been found brutally murdered in her home and the detective is trying to establish who committed the crime. By delving deep into Albert’s past and his relationship with his daughter, Detective Fine uncovers the truth behind the mystery.
The investigative nature of Miller’s second play is a welcome change in tone, evoking drama and intrigue. However the performances fall short of expectation and what should be an engaging mystery lacks energy. Both Bird and Taylor lose their nondescript American accents throughout, which becomes awkward. Miller’s language also feels dated and this creates some uncomfortable moments at times. The redeemable element of the second play is the touching relationship between Albert and Clara. Although a very small part, Quade manages to portray her character’s sincerity and affection for her father well, which adds a spark of spirit to the piece. Overall, although Osgood’s direction adds movement to Danger: Memory!, the performances struggle to maintain attention, especially in the second piece.
Danger: Memory! is at Theatro Technis until 15th October.