In Forgotten, Pat Kinevane takes on the roles of four residents of an elder care facility. As in his other two performance pieces, Underneath and Silent, Kinevane forms a bond with his audience, singling out individuals and asking their names. He talks to them over and over throughout the show. At times he stands as close as possible to the audience and sometimes roams up into the house. He came up close to my aisle seat, looming over me as I twisted around so as not to miss a single word he spoke nor a single expression of his mobile face. I reveled in the close proximity of this utterly remarkable performer.
Barefooted, shirtless, and garbed in raggedy black pants, he creates vivid characters while roaming the stage with a dancer’s grace in stylized movement. At his first entrance, he comes on wearing an elegant kimono and there is a Kabuki theme that runs through this show supported by Japanese music that informs his physical performance. His characters, two women and two men, exist in a twilight zone at this warehouse for the elderly, attended by orderlies and nurses who are tin-eared and unresponsive to the old folks’ needs or complaints as they guide their charges through the days dispensing drugs or directing useless activities. Friends and family are gone or seldom visit.
One man is angry and rages at the system. He recalls the glory and power of his youth and pockets the drugs that are dispensed to him. For the other man, Kinevane creates a character far upstage in a singular bit of creative imagination. He sits with his back to the audience, then fits a pair of goggles to the back of his head for eyes, and speaks using his arms twisted behind his back to gesture. His story is one of family woe with a wife who died too soon and an adopted daughter who runs astray in total disregard of her father. Both men are poignant and unspeakably sad.
Mr. Kinevane is a genius at creating the speech and mannerisms of women, aided by a few bits of cloth swirled around his body. A woman of the upper-class recounts the past with vivid recollections of the girl she was and of the woman she became. Another sits at her vanity daubing her face with mascara and powder telling how she supplies her needs by bringing home samples from the makeup counter of a fashionable store. She munches on marshmallows from time to time and even shares one with an audience member.
Mr. Kinevane’s performance is supported throughout by a terrific sound design that synchronizes perfectly with the action on stage, as does the original lighting design by Mr. Kinevane and director Jim Culleton (realized by Odyssey lighting designer Katelyn Braymer). Brian Byrne composed the opening and closing music and Catherine Condell designed the costumes. Stage manager Beth Mack calls the light and sound cues with commendable precision.
Forgotten plays March 23 (tonight), March 24, 25, and April 1. There is still time to see Silent on March 31 and Underneath on March 29 and 30 before Pat Kinevane leaves town. See them at Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Los Angeles.
My review of the 2016 performance of Underneath can be read at https://paulmyrvoldstheatrenotes.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/underneath-at-odyssey-theatre/. The review of Silent is available at https://paulmyrvoldstheatrenotes.wordpress.com/2018/03/16/silent-at-odyssey-theatre/.