Letizia Maculan

It was quite a while ago now that I thought it might be a good idea to go ahead and write a play. After many weeks of hard toil I produced this little number, which is now called Memento Mori.

The play is sort of a failed homage to Ben Jonson, of all people. His plays were full of grotesque stock characters slinging scorn at each other in a perpetual match of wits. Sadly, my attempt to emulate such a form of playwriting failed fairly early on; despite this, I carried on writing. What happened after that is anyone’s guess. It’s also an attempt at those ‘mingled’ tragicomedies which were so in vogue around the early 17th century, except it’s not quite that. You’ll have to watch it to work out for yourself what it actually is. In fact, let me try and give you a brief outline.

Basically, the show follows Jenrick, a wealthy merchant who decides to retire. He wants to retire only for a quiet life of philosophical reflection. And yet this quiet life is soon broken in on all sides by scheming servants, a vulture-like business associate, and one long-lost love. Needless to say, things don’t end up well. The comedy is at times absurd, and at other times quite dark, sometimes both. At least, this is what I was aiming for.

“The play is sort of a failed homage to Ben Jonson, of all people.”

Still, I know Memento Mori will be a great show. How do I know? I’ll tell you why. I know that the people who have involved themselves in this show are all fantastic. The director, Dylan Evans, is doing great things, as is the assistant director Phil Tarrant. Not only this, but the cast! Oh, the cast! I could write Odes! I could write encomiums! And I haven’t even mentioned the prod team in all its entirety! If only I had the space to do so, I would list all of their names individually. However, this space I do not have.

Look, I’m not a great promoter. I’m no mountebank. But what promotion is needed when a show looks as inviting as this one? For, just as with death, to this show everyone is invited. Why turn such an invitation down?

Now, in order for someone to give you an idea of what it’s been like making the show – and also tell you why you should see it – I shall turn you gently over to the Assistant Director Phil Tarrant. He’s a real true top lad, and he’s been doing sterling work. Take it away, Phil:


Mountain View

Down the Rabbit Hole

I write this in the midst of the final stages of pulling this show together – and I’m really excited for people to see the result of the talent that has gone into it. We have been working on it for a while now; the audition process was way back before the start of term. Watching the auditions from the confines of my bedroom, seeing the way Dylan and Greg discussed in such depth, with such enthusiasm, the project with the auditionees – I knew just how much work and passion was going to be funnelled into this play. For the most part I have simply been an onlooker, watching Dylan and the actors do their thing. At one point, after a re-drafting of the script, Elizabeth Weber, one of our actors, made sure a piece of dialogue she felt to be central to her character was added back to the script after being cut; this is a perfect little example of how intimately and fervently every member of this project is invested in it.

“It is so unique, idiosyncratic; at once indebted to its origins in Renaissance drama and pointedly modern”

Elizabeth would agree with me; in her own words: “It has been an incredible experience rehearsing Memento Mori. The cast is extremely talented, the director and his assistant are both creative and driven. Everyone involved is so passionate.” Elizabeth plays Janice in the play, a character who, in her own words, is “a logical yet emotionally driven woman.” She, like all the play’s characters, is full of contradictions, deeply complex.

It is easy to see why everyone is so engaged with this show; Greg’s modest confession of his failure to emulate Ben Jonson illustrates just what is so good about the play. It is so unique, idiosyncratic; at once indebted to its origins in Renaissance drama and pointedly modern: simultaneously absurd, funny, tragic, comically over-blown, histrionic, and, at points, quietly profound and understated. This play oscillates in style and mood with an alacrity and vivaciousness that, with such a super team, it cannot but come alive, really come alive, on stage. And so, what really needs to be said is that we hope to see you all there.