2401 Objects is a performance based on the life of Henry Molaison, a patient who in the early 50s emerged from experimental brain surgery without any recollection of the last two years of his life or the ability to form new memories.
From the opening moments of the performance the audience is placed within a still and sombre environment. The focus is pushed towards the characters from Molaison’s life, revealing who he was through his relationship with his family / home life and his nurse. A semi-translucent gauze encompasses the space, allowing performers to flip back and forth between key moments and memories in Molaison’s life.
Analogue’s working ethos has always included a strong relationship with multimedia – a constant experimentation with place, perspective and projection – but in this piece, though the simplicity and stillness of its placement keeps the piece grounded, it’s not utilised to the fullest.
With the backdrop of 50s suburban normality and Molaison’s lonely hospital room, the performance maintains a steady pace, although the general aesthetic is cold throughout, giving us a constant feeling that we are glimpsing into a distant, foggy memory. The handling of the central gauze that transforms the space is at times mechanical, mainly due to its size. The performers’ interaction with the structure allows quick filmic cuts and stage changes, but sometimes these seemed out of place and thrown in to give the piece a boost of energy that wasn’t needed.
The production is held together by its actors, with strong performances from a cast of three playing a host of characters from Molaison’s life. The real heart of this piece focuses on the power of memory, and the company’s simple ambition to focus on the memories of a friendly, gentle man who just happened to advance the field of neuroscience.
2401 Objects is a solid, well-researched piece of theatre that adds to Analogue’s ever-growing canon of work.