Jackob G. Hofmann's new drama examines the virtues of grief, the impact of childhood memories, and why we shouldn't allow our pasts to define us. More…
David Huntington is losing his grip on reality. With every passing moment, his most precious memories are slipping away. But why? In pursuit of answers, he finds himself preoccupied with a mysterious phenomenon that’s plaguing the world’s elephant population. This fixation soon catapults David into a series of unexpected encounters that will ultimately force him to confront dark events in his family’s past.
“A touching story about dealing with grief that comes after loss. The playwright Jackob G. Hofmann and the director Jessi D. Hill each did a wonderful job creating a world of a young man that is falling apart and Drew Ledbetter delivered the role convincingly. The rest of the cast of six supplied a strong counterpart to the main character and developed miniature stories of their own adding onto the meditation on memory, love and grief.” Full Review
“The play’s development is beautifully structured by the playwright to symbolize and reveal David’s emotional growth however haphazard because it is relayed by emotional memory. This is cleverly effected by Hill’s superb direction evidenced by her choice of dramatic elements in the production design...The elements which are evocative and measure the poetic, philosophical concepts intimated in the play raise the themes to a heightened symbolism. It is ingenious crafting.” Full Review
"A gripping and emotional account of the experiences that mold human memories and the lasting impact they create...Ledbetter does a convincing job of portraying a young adult who wrestles greatly with being present in life...'A Persistent Memory' is powerfully haunting and will leave audiences pondering the significance of memory in determining their life’s journey. A smart, valuable, and heartbreaking piece of theater that you won’t soon forget!" Full Review
"'A Persistent Memory' exhibits impressive emotional and narrative depth in a crisp, concise production…A complex story about love and loss…Throughout the play, the narratives are carefully balanced, as Hofmann delicately unfolds the connections between human and elephant strategies of dealing with trauma and memory…In a leading role, Drew Ledbetter exhibits an easy command of the stage, a skill that is characteristic of each cast member." Full Review
"Drew Ledbetter gives a tightly wrapped and interestingly layered performance...Each individual scene is a clear, well-wrought bubble of lived experience, but the play consciously tumbles the chronological order. It has that Stoppard-like effect...It’s less simplistic you might say, or less clear, or more ambiguous and artistic. I can’t say the totality of the effect is moving exactly...On the subject of humans, it’s smart, engaging mostly, and ultimately an uncomfortable puzzle." Full Review
"Neither Jessi D. Hill’s snail-paced direction nor any of the mostly low-energy performances...can do much to enliven Hofmann’s play...Hofmann also includes several intrusive expository monologues...His choice to scramble the play’s chronology may have poetic qualities but it’s a distracting conceit that only serves to highlight the play’s weaknesses...I’m afraid ‘A Persistent Memory’ is one I’m likely to soon forget." Full Review
"Playwright Jackob G. Hofmann can clearly write. In this play, however, he seems to have been carried away by his own dialogue. Diverting exposition makes the piece feel jerky, muddling essential plot lines, losing the interesting elephant metaphor in the shuffle. Drew Ledbetter (David) is the weak link in a talented cast…Accents are varied contributing to authenticity." Full Review
"A slow-moving drama...Told nonlinearly, 'A Persistent Memory' pieces together moments to offer a muddled message...Jessi D. Hill makes the most of the text. While the pacing is inexcusably slow, Hill does try to track David’s journey clearly...'A Persistent Memory' is one of those shows that you can see the team put the effort into constructing a strong production but the text was just not up to par, yet." Full Review
"Hoffman’s nonlinear approach to memory issues works well…However, because none of the story lines is linear, they prove so confusing that the ending, when it comes, is unexpectedly abrupt. Both playwright and director allow the script to get lost in an abundance of stories that never dig deep enough...Director Hill uses the actors well to create a fluid expression of time against David’s memories weaving in and out, but in the end 'A Persistent Memory' still feels like a series of vignettes." Full Review
"David doesn't know when he is...Hofmann, with the purest of intentions, has let this plot point dictate the form of the entire play without a believable anchor as to its appropriateness...Ledbetter does all he can with David...but he doesn't link them all together into a single unified personality any more than the writing does...You get a similar sense of confusion from director Jessi D. Hill, as if she's attempting to wrangle a bunch of ideas that just don't add up." Full Review
"It's not that 'A Persistent Memory' is abstruse or hard to follow; rather, it's that the scenes don't build to a coherent portrait of the canker gnawing at David's soul…Furthermore, the script is loaded with plot danglers that never get addressed…Under Jessi D. Hill's direction, the search for a clear throughline fails and the performances are highly variable…'A Persistent Memory' is so weighed down with plot points and psychological baggage that it tips over." Full Review
“It is hard to tell where exactly this play fails, as the acting is so inconsistent and the cast speaks in a singsong that lulls you to sleep. The plot is so convoluted that you don’t care enough to pay attention. Ledbetter is not charismatic enough to make us care and his role is thinly written and confusing. Jessi D. Hill’s directing doesn’t help. Even the design elements don’t fuse properly. I honestly don’t understand how this got produced. For a 90-minute show, it felt like an eternity.” Full Review
See it if You like intriguing psychological dramas constructed out of puzzle pieces that the viewer must put together. The set design is breathtaking!
Don't see it if You prefer straight-line play construction.
See it if You like new plays about consequences. About Africa. Learning about elephant behavior!
Don't see it if You just want to be entertained. If you don't like non linear work that makes you think.
See it if You like elephants – as fellow-creatures, as metaphor, as symbols in an interesting but unrealized drama of memory, loss, grief & redemption
Don't see it if you need to hear the actors. Inaudible voices inexcusable, a disservice to play & audience. Ending only inferred as 1st scene was unheard.
See it if you like plays that make you think about dark subjects performed by good actors.
Don't see it if You don't like plays that move around in time and explore difficult themes about memory, loss and grief.
See it if You wonder how shows make it to off Broadway. I became as befuddled as the main character David watching this. Non linear timing didn't help
Don't see it if Your going to want the last 2 hours of your life back. You won't get it and there will be no way to justify sitting thru this to yourself.
See it if You're interested in stories that blur time. You'll actively work for a theme- there are many thought provoking things but they can be lost
Don't see it if You have a hard time keeping track of details, prefer to be in one place or with one character for a longer time, or want a strong takeaway
See it if ...I can't remember why you should see it. (I recall some decent performances & the germ of a good premise about the reliability of memory.)
Don't see it if you aren't prepared to weed through an overstuffed play, with too many storylines and too many scene shifts with too little payoff.
See it if you like thought provoking plays. This one makes you think. Story is told out of time sequence, just the way memory works. Terrific acting.
Don't see it if you want to be spoon fed a story. You have to work a bit for this one. Well worth the effort. The staging and directing are brilliant.
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