Too Much Memory
Tue Dec 16 2008
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
This retelling of the Greek myth of Antigone’s civil disobedience garnered critical kudos and a couple of awards during the Fringe festival last summer. Such a warm reception may have had something to do with uncertainty about the election and the prospect of another four years of Republican leadership. Or maybe the play—which uses Jean Anouilh’s 1944 version as its basis, augmented with contemporary references and texts from Richard Nixon, Susan Sontag and Pablo Neruda—gleamed brightly among a morass of inferior Fringe offerings. Whatever the case, Too Much Memory only loses momentum in this remount.
Keith Reddin and Meg Gibson’s script is certainly intelligent, but allusions to text messaging, depictions of government-sanctioned torture and Antigone’s delivery of her final words into a cell-phone camera do not catapult the drama into the present, particularly considering our now optimistic (if fiscally troubled) times.
Most compelling is Laura Heisler’s impassioned performance as the doomed Antigone, although Ray Anthony Thomas is equally fine as a duty-weary soldier pulled into her struggle with her authoritarian uncle, King Creon (imbued by Peter Jay Fernandez with grave hauteur). Interestingly, Seth Numrich and Aria Alpert find unusual depth in the smaller roles of Antigone’s conformist fianc and her image-conscious sister, respectively. One wishes that the play itself were as much of a surprise.