Running at well under an hour each, these two short one act plays from the
pen of master playwright Arthur Miller are immaculately performed and
infused with poignancy.
In the first – “I Can’t Remember Anything” – real-life husband and wife
David Burke and Anna-Calder Marshall are retired, arthritic engineer Leo
(his brain struggling to complete the calculations he used to find so
simple) and sad, whisky-downing, widowed Leonora, whose failing memory is
even more wayward.
They’re the last survivors of what was once an extensive
group of partying, politically principled New England friends. Now even
their shared memories are at variance, their tempers short and their bodies
weak. Yet when they dance together, briefly, one glimpses momentarily the
essence of their former vibrant selves.
“Clara” focuses on the immediate aftermath of the murder of a young woman as
a time-conscious detective (Roger Sloman) tries to prise details of her
ex-offender boyfriend from her traumatised father. The bereaved parent (a
compelling Rolf Saxon) either cannot or will not divulge his identity to the
increasingly impatient policeman, fearful, at some deep level, that by doing
so he will compromise his own liberal principles.
Written in 1987 when Miller was already in his 70’s, both plays demonstrate
all the sensitivity of an older man’s experience of the tricks memory plays
on us, and Ed Viney’s absorbing production proves another feather in the cap
of this intimate theatre.
Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1Y 6ST
020 7287 2875
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Until 23rd July
– Louise Kingsley