“Memory is the scribe of the soul” pontificated Aristotle, but while this notion may be easy to grasp, the reality of it doesn’t quite sink in on a day to day basis. Seeing the film Memento as a kid gave me this visceral feeling that we don’t actually exist without our memories, and watching my grandmother fall deeply through dementia completely disintegrated my relationship with reality.


I wanted to explore what drives us as humans, how our identity comes to be, and how they are intertwined. So with Daniel Kahneman as my guide, particularly his work on the Experiencing Self and the Remembering Self, and my oft-researched theories on time and death, I envisioned a piece that explores how our own personal time constantly manipulates our experience. As much as we’d like to imagine time in various ways, we live a constant linear trajectory (within our observable dimensions). But what does all that do for us? While physicists obsess over the beginning of time and its spacial relationships, we as humans are plagued by its ending and the ability of our past to feel like it compresses or repeats itself. While we proceed in a linear world of cause and effect, our time often feels recursive: the same day every day, making the same mistakes, our hearts holding onto the past, days and weeks bleeding into each other, judgements on ourselves trapping us in loops. I conceived of a mythology where each night when you go to sleep, your subconscious mind in some undisclosed dimension is faced with the decision to either rewind 24 hours and relive your day again, or move forward with time. The caveat is that your conscious mind doesn’t know this rewinding exists, and therefore will not remember the previous day if you decide to repeat it. In fact, your memory of any previous drafts of a day gets wiped from your subconscious as well, so it doesn’t know if you’ve already repeated the day. Potentially you could get caught in an endless loop of reliving the same day over for decades without even knowing it. The final piece is: whenever you decide to move forward and not repeat, you “jump” forward by however many days you repeated, as if the temporal dimension has its own static existence and you are the variable. Does this explain why some days in our past are so vivid while others seem lost forever? It asks the question: how do we chose to spend our time in this life?


With my creative partner, we developed RPT (pronounced "repeat") to explore stories of 9 different characters—each equally important to the overall. These are broken into small episodes from each of these protagonists; most include a beginning, middle, and end to their story spaced out throughout the duration of the piece.
Scene organization chart.
The experience of the audience member is driven by mood and theme as it relates to the characters rather than linear plot.
Early story and thematic map.
In addition to the written script, the material was partially devised (developed while in rehearsals in collaboration with the actors)—RPT is as text-driven as it is movement-driven in order to explore and express the semantics of our mind. The text is only 35 pages, but the piece runs about 80 minutes. I developed the piece from an aesthetic standpoint, which isn’t often done in theatre, but I was interested in the visceral storytelling and how it percolates. RPT achieved this to varying success, and I’m still experimenting with it. This show was also conceived with an interactive element woven throughout, that the audience could experience and participate from the comfort of their seats through their mobile devices and other responsive technologies. Due to the nature of this residency we weren’t able to explore that piece of the puzzle. Hopefully RPT continues to grow into a fully produced experiential, fragmented journey about our ideas of life and identity as they relate to the memories we both keep and forget.

Highlight Reel

NEW PROJECT Development


Co-Creator / Co-Writer / Production Design / Sound Design
92Y Musical Theatre Development Lab, NY 2017
Co-Creator / Co-Writer / Director / Choreographer: Courtney Laine Self
Additional Collaborators: Ben Chavez and Matthew Minnicino