Taking a trip down memory lane does not always have a predetermined outcome of how the person taking the trip will react. Bringing up old memories can make you laugh, smile, and even sometimes cry. Although, in context we use the term memory lane, the lane is only but in our heads that we travel down reminiscing the “good ole days,” because memories can come up at any time or any place.
In this 21st century drama, the play takes place in a local café of course called Memory Café. Being near a university, lots of students and even faculty come to the café. Like most cafés, it is an area for socializing, having meetings, and even meeting new people.
The play starts with two central characters, Jack (Curt Wohleber) and Annie (Simonita Simkins) who are minding their business when they meet a lovely waitress named Danielle (Hannah Atencio). Other groups of two enter the scene as the play goes. As the couples have their own personal conversations, they eventually become not so personal as they become. Eavesdropping is fairly common amongst those in the café, and after listening for so long, people can’t help but to give their two scents (opinion).
Michael Kelley who is the playwright of “Memory Café,” really keeps you on your toes. From the beginning of the play with a short anecdote of each characters background you feel that this diverse group of characters will be an interesting mix. The phrase of, “never judge a book by it’s cover,” was fairly evident in this play. Kelley leads his audience into thinking that play is heading in one direction, but later hands his a viewers a plot twist that will have them completely shook. Kelley makes his audience seem like a fly on the wall of Memory Café and just soaking everything up. You learn something about every character’s past and how it has molded them into the person they currently are.
Simkins who plays Annie brings her character to life. A rather older woman, comes off a bit sarcastic in the beginning of the play. Her responses to Jack and her facial expressions really gave off the vibe that she was not necessarily interested other conversations. As the play continues she becomes more open, she gives advice, she pulls the view closer as if you were her friend. She is great at showing her emotions rather it be happy, sad, sarcastic or passionate. Simkins’ character acts as if she has all the pieces together but she really doesn’t and Simkins helps the viewers to see this as the show goes on.
As someone who has never seen a stage reading play I was stunned at how great the performance was. All of the actors did a fantastic job. I thought there would be more reading and less acting but I was wrong. I felt the emotions of the actors. There were points at which the audience would laugh and there were times that made some fight back the tears. I definitely recommend people to go see Memory Café.