Tarragon play about fallout from Alzheimer’s and modern life
“Why live in present moment if it is gone five minutes later?” asks Edouard, the main character in You Will Remember Me.
A professor, public figure and sovereignist, Edouard, who is played by R.H. Thomson claims to have an excellent memory by telling the same story over and over again. But for him the moment is literally gone again and again because he has Alzheimer’s disease.
The disease, as a catalyst, pulls out a lot of plugs. In a world where nothing is happening and everyone prefers feeling to thinking, it soon becomes very clear Edouard is not the only one who is sick.
His beautiful mind and vocabulary does not interest anyone. The people closest to him, swamped under their own self-absorption and misery cannot wait until Edouard fades away and doesn’t recognize them anymore.
While no one wants to take responsibility for him, Edouard finds compassion in the farthest person from him. Together with this person, he realizes memories he spent so much effort trying to stay away from were always with him, making him feel sorry for the very willingness to forget.
Edouard chaotically writes in the play, clinging to his last hope, a notebook and a sweater. “If people only remembered, they’d never leave each other,” he said.
Interestingly, Edouard’s sickness echoes in the lived experience of relatively healthy people. In a world tethered to the Internet, “nothing lives a mark” in people’s mind. “The mark you left yesterday – it doesn’t mean anything?” asks one of the characters. “I don’t care, I just want to listen to you,” said Edouard.
You Will Remember Me is not a story about a sickness. The play is a thought-provoking, hilarious and sorrowful story about a person, his weaknesses, thoughts, memories, relationships, loneliness, worthlessness and the meaning of life.
Which, if you break it down, might be something as simple as what Edouard said, “right now I am with you and I don’t want it to stop.”
You Will Remember Me, written by François Archambault and directed by Joel Greenberg, is showing at the Tarragon Theatre near George Brown College’s Casa Loma campus until April 10.