Pros: A carefully curated show, anecdotal and musical, which explores autism with creativity and clarity.
Cons: Perhaps a little slow-paced during the middle section of the show, but not fatally so.
First and foremost, if you haven’t been to the Pleasance Theatre, it is the cutest and quaintest place. It sits back from a fairly inconspicuous looking street near Caledonian Road station. As you approach from the path you don’t immediately see it, and then all of a sudden, this delicious courtyard of fairy lights, yellow walls and picnic benches (complete with pint-bearing citizens) appears in all its glory. The theatre space is cozy and intimate, a really apt environment for fringe theatre.
I Remember explores autism through a combination of sounds and music set to an hour-long monologue, performed by spoken- word artist Georgina Jeronymides-Norie and musician James Gow. The performance travels through the experiences of an individual with autism, through childhood, diagnosis, and the tricky land of adulthood. The show is a carefully curated experience; multi-sensory and well thought-out. It was interesting to see Georgina performing an energetic and fervent piece about something that by nature is not an easy thing to explain or understand. The friends that I have with autism, although I am not trying to generalise what it is like for all experiences of those with autism, struggle to emote what it is like to have it. The script is written by Steven Fraser, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and explores the experiences one with autism might face with absolute clarity. The piece is an entirely collaborative one. The monologue is clearly written and poetic in spades. The masterful delivery by Georgina fuels it with a fervency that does the script justice, truly making it an engaging and emotional performance to watch.
The heart of the piece is in the delivery of the monologue, but the life-blood is the music. James Gow builds layers of sounds that match the tone of what is unfolding in the spoken-word. It is successfully done and is a clever addition that creates a really visceral performance. Fraser’s piece explores the notion of looking at autism with a sense of creativity and open-mindedness. The anchoring philosophy is that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with people with autism in as much as there is anything wrong with the rest of the population. The ways that people deal with daily life are varied, and the approach that is championed is that we should urge ourselves to empathise with how people choose to navigate challenges without judgement. The words make their point explicitly, and the sounds provide a sense of intuition to the piece that compliments the tone of the show.
Overall, the show is a really enjoyable experience. I enjoyed thinking about how to further empathise and rationalise with the differences in the way people think. In terms of the show’s pacing and construction, the middle section of the show feels a bit too slow to unfold. It is always interesting, but with a spoken-word-esque show such as this, the challenge is to keep the momentum going. A lot of the middle section, in being similar in its anecdotal nature, meant that the sounds in the background stayed the same. This meant that for a while the pacing felt a little slow-going. The final ten minutes are masterfully paced, however; crescendo couldn’t be a more perfect word to fit the show’s finale. In a show that is so creatively driven, I think it could go a little further during the plateau of the performance. I Remember is worth seeing. A strong duo passionately explore an engaging script and bestow a new way of thinking upon an audience. I really hope the feedback they receive from this run allows them to take the piece to the next level.
Author: Steven Fraser
Director: David Loumgair
Produced by: The Loumgair Collective with Ailbhe Treacy
Booking until: This show has now completed its run.