Director’s Note: Rachel Chant, THE MEMORY OF WATER

16 Oct 2023

It isn’t uncommon for a rehearsal room to feel like a family. As we all know, however, family can mean multitudes – our individual experience of family shapes what this idea means to us. In the case of this team, since day one of rehearsals, we’ve been lucky enough to say that family means safety, collaboration, joy and belonging.

This familial connection has felt particularly pertinent in exploring Shelagh Stephenson’s beautifully written and achingly familiar play, THE MEMORY OF WATER.

Throughout our process, we’ve talked a lot about the nature of family. The complexity of these relationships which play such a huge role in informing who we are. The inevitable push and pull of familial relationships and how, often, the more we try to break free of these binds, the more we find ourselves drawn back in. The idea of water holding memory is that no matter how much you dilute a water solution, the water will retain the ‘memory’ of whatever substance has run through it. “You can dilute and dilute and dilute but the pertinent thing remains.” Our family runs through us like wine through water – for better or worse.

When it comes to memory, there is no absolute truth. Memories are an act of subjective re-creation, altered and reconstructed to aid our own survival. No two recollections will be the same. I love how this applies in the context of theatre: despite the fact that every person in the audience is watching the same show, no two experiences will be the same. Each person will see different things based on their individual context. There is no absolute truth – there is just your experience, and what it means to you.

Thank you to Mark, Loretta and the whole Ensemble team for the gift of this family, this experience, and what it means to me.

– Rachel Chant

Playing 20 Oct – 25 Nov, don’t miss Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier Award-winning comedy about conflicting memories, life and loss.