The Memorandum – 08/06/1969

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VenueUnion Theatre

Title The Memorandum
Start Date 06/08/1969
End Date 09/08/1969
Company Melbourne University Student Theatre (MUST)
Author Vaclav Havel
Abstract “The Memorandum” is a modern Czech satire, a play of strong political and social criticism, a satire that can be interpreted on several levels. The protagonist is human speech. An artificial language is invested and the aim is to make communication precise and scientific. On the contrary, it results in the deepening alienation and mechanization of the people concerned. It is a provoking play, especially when seen as a parable on totalitarianism (or censorship) but this must not give the impression that the writer has renounced the basic reason for writing or producing a play – to entertain and excite pleasure. The Memorandum is hilarious and chilling at the same time. The play would certainly never get a professional production in Australia. “It was at the Balustrude, where Havel is dramaturg and resident dramatist, that “The Memorandum” was first presented, under the direction of Jan Grossman. It is a play of strong political and social criticism, a satire that can be interpreted on several levels.”
The play deals with bureaucracy and the distortion of language and can be seen as a satire on several levels. The playwright’s concern is with the mechanization of man. The protagonist comes from human speech; an artificial language in inverted which is intended to render communication perfect and objective but which actually leads to constantly deepening alienation and disturbance in human relations.
Director George Whaley
Notes Tour to Canberra Drama Festival after a four night season at the Union Theatre
Jan Hamilton won the Murray Sutherland Prize for her performance as Maria
Cast Bruce Sims, Max Tomkins, Jan Martin, Jack Grinberg, Ferida Ajayoglu, Jan Hamilton, William Ortolja, Sasha Soldatow, Jeff Curtis, Dennis Howard, David James, Ian McFadyen, Alex Craig, Zoe Sterling, Mary Jacobs