What can you remember from five years ago? Or five days ago? Five minutes ago, even? What can you be absolutely sure, beyond all doubt that you remember? MALAPROP Theatre’s new show Everything Not Saved takes the scientific theory that on a neurological level memory and imagination are exactly the same, open to endless manipulation with sometimes amusing, sometimes chilling results.
The truth isn’t an ideal but an afterthought
Everything Not Saved is less of a play and more of a variation on a theme with a series of sketches that exemplify our everyday amnesia, with the past, truth and history moulded and modified to fit the present situation. It’s territory that’s ripe for theatrical interpretations, with the slippery dialogue constantly playing mind games with us. Police extract false confessions and film crews rewrite national history, for all of them the truth isn’t an ideal but an afterthought. The ideas are interesting but they are hamstrung due to production’s tendency to tell rather than show which suggests a lack of confidence in the audience’s ability to understand the central concept and its multifaceted implications. It’s a shame because there’s so much scope for exploration and complexity but the end result feels remarkably timid.
It’s heartening to see theatre embracing sci-fi, even if the scenarios presented seem eerily close to reality in our ‘post-truth age’, and it’s exciting to imagine what the world and ourselves will look like. I’m looking forward to seeing what MALAPROP will come up next, with their distinctive style and sense of humour, but I hope whatever they do they do it boldly and trust the audience to keep up with them.