Re-Member Me

‘Award-winning lip synch maestro and intrepid drag fabulist, Dickie Beau’ brings Re-Member Me to Contact.

Re-Member Me is very much a one man play about why actors and directors do Hamlet, the role of the critic in recording that performance, and the question of what exactly do we want to be remembered for, in the end?  Does it really matter if you are the one that gave the definitive Hamlet, or is it just vanity?  Isn’t really life – and how you change other peoples’ lives – more important?

A great deal of the performance covers the Hamlet of Ian Charleson after taking over from Daniel Day Lewis for just over a month in 1989.  This was a man who knew he was dying (we now know it was AIDS) and who brought his own mortality into the role; it is only by chance that the performance is remembered, for it was never recorded.  For me, it brought back echoes of Bruce Chatwin, whose last book Utz (whilst he also was dying) was probably the only one that reflected who he really was.  Perhaps this is a performance about how we ultimately seek to create the truth about ourselves through being someone else.

Structurally this is a fascinating production.  In the after show discussion the performer tells that this was originally going to be a lecture based on their own interviews, aiming to produce a ‘human Hamlet mix-tape’.  Clearly this has evolved, and the finished product combines lip syncing to interviews both live on stage and in recorded video form.  There is a great skill in making this technique work, and the effect is engaging.  Only at one point is there direct audience address.  During the video, the performer sets up the final moments of Ian Charleson’s life from mannequin parts strewn over the stage, I suppose giving life to the inanimate.  I’m not sure it feels like it at the time, but looking back on the performance it really does seem as if the dead have come back to life, the performer is ‘making the dead available again for conversation’.

There are ideas that are likely to sit with you long after the performance finishes.  But what do we want to be remembered for?  Is it who we were?  Or is it who we pretended to be?  And does it matter?  Are we not all ghosts in the end?

Contact, Manchester, 28-29 November 2017.

photo: Robin Fisher

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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