When tragedy is combined with comedy, it can often generate an emotional impulse of helplessness. To this observation, Rob Gee responded in an interview with Forge Press about his murder mystery play that “there is really a fine line between crime and laughter”.
Forget Me Not is a two-hour show about the human condition, and care home and psychiatric ward systems in England. As both the writer and the sole actor, Gee plays 15 characters, all different in nature and mannerism. It was inspired by his experiences working in a psychiatric ward where he noticed one of his patients being treated badly by some of the staff.
Eric, the main character of the play, suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Following his wife’s death from a fall down the stairs, he suspects she has been murdered leading to a murder mystery.
The problematic nature of the NHS’s dementia and Alzheimer’s wards is illustrated through the lens of comedy, no matter how urgent or heart-breaking the conditions may seem at first. Gee fully takes on the personality of each of his characters, changing his voice, posture, and facial expressions accordingly – it is fascinating to watch. Although his acting is captivating, at times it is difficult to differentiate between some characters.
The decor is simple, with only a chair in front of the audience. Gee’s outfit includes a white shirt paired with black trousers, acting as a blank canvas on which to build each character.
However, no matter how simplistic and unconventional the non-existent décor is, Gee still manages to create a different atmosphere every time he switches to another challenging patient or staff. The story is deeply immersing, as the murder mystery unfolds.
It wasn’t just the play – the actor continually interact with the public, and at the end of the show talks about his experience as a registered nurse for 12 years.