André & Dorine
nytheatre.com review by Sarah Congress
September 13, 2012
Andre & Dorine, presented by the Kulunka Theatre Company at The Marjorie S. Dean Theater, is a beautiful show about an elderly artistic couple, dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The play contains absolutely no dialogue. In addition to the silence, all of the actors wear masks, meaning no facial expressions whatsoever. Yet this proved to be no limitation to the story. In fact, the absence of dialogue and distinguishable faces made the play feel both timeless and universal.
The play is set in a small, cozy room. Andre is a writer. A typewriter sits on the desk for him. Dorine is a musician. A cello hangs on a hook for her. The walls are decorated with pictures from their past. A courtship. A wedding. A baby. A family. At the beginning of the play, old husband and wife are irritated with one another and the passion is long gone, as often happens in old age. Their son comes in. Dorine and Andre’s bodies change. They are ecstatic. The son slouches, already weary of his parents. Dorine gives her son a sweater. Andre tries to get his son to read the pages he’s just written. Life continues in this simple routine—until—Dorine begins to forget what things do what—and gradually looses her memory entirely. Andre, heartbroken, tries to help his wife remember the past. Each picture on the wall represents a sacred memory, and is re-enacted to help his beloved remember the life that they had.
Music plays a crucial part in Andre & Dorine. Music composer Yayo Caceres created a score that gives life to the pain of loosing one’s memory. Costume designer Ikerne Gimenez, designed simple pieces that reminded me of my own grandparent’s wardrobe. Director Inaki Rikarte created a world of loving memories, while remaining genuine and untainted by fake sentiment.
Andre & Dorine was like a theatrical approach to the film The Notebook. Or the first few minutes of Pixar's Up. They all deal with memory, love, and loss, in simple, effective ways.
In just one hour, The Kulunka Theatre Company presented to its audience a creative, sad, but also humorous piece about a couple’s battle with memory loss. Judging by the three curtain calls and audience’s standing ovation, and my own tears that fell during the performance, I would call