Let the countdown begin! We need $4,090 pledged in the next 49 hours! If you’ve been intending to help us out or help us out even more, now is the time to do it, please! We are getting so clo…
Let the countdown begin! We need $4,090 pledged in the next 49 hours! If you’ve been intending to help us out or help us out even more, now is the time to do it, please! We are getting so close. And we don’t have an ace in the hole. We don’t have someone in the background waiting to pledge the remaining amount at the last minute. We need your help!
Thanks so much!
HAMNESIA is a collection of 31 plays written in 31 days. All plays center around one couple, Lenny and Barb. Lenny has an odd case of an invented disorder called “hamnesia.” He forgets anything and everything that contains ham. Whether it is an ingredient in a dish or a clue to a crossword puzzle, Lenny just can’t seem to put his finger on it. At times this is fairly comical. But mostly it is heartbreaking and maddening—especially for Barb to witness. What started out as a whimsical silly idea has now turned into a character study of an actor who never really had the best memory to begin with, but over the years his forgetfulness transforms and a debilitating illness surfaces.
1. The Island of No Prosciutto –Lenny forgets to get the prosciutto (Italian ham) at the store.
2. The Buddha Jumps over the Wall–Roberto makes this Chinese shark fin stew which often contains dry-cured ham called Jinhua. No one at the table can think of the word.
3. 44-Down, the Cursed Son of Noah–Lenny works on a crossword, but can’t remember Noah’s son Ham.
4. The Tragedy of Thelma, Dyslexic Prince of Denmark–As Hamlet, Lenny can’t remember his lines. In one speech where Hamlet speaks in third person, Lenny can’t remember the name of the character he’s playing. He sees the letters; he just can’t remember the order. In a panic, he says, “Thelma.”
5. He Overacts Just a Little Bit, Don’t You Think?–Barb inquires about the actor who forgot his lines. No one at the cast party can think of Lenny’s last name, the ham who overacts just a little bit
6. The Table of Dr. di Parma–Barb takes Lenny to see Dr. di Parma. But Lenny doesn’t remember that di Parma (another Italian kind of ham) is his general practitioner.)
7. The International Air Transport Association Airport Code for that Airport over there in Germany—Barb asks Lenny what the airport code for Hamburg is. He can’t remember.
8. The Skeletal Remains of Astrochimp –Lenny racks his brain trying to come up with Astrochimp’s first name.
9. The Lightly Attended Funeral of the Amateur Radio Operator—Only two people remember to go to the ham’s funeral.
10. It’s Not Lake Michigan, it’s a Lake in Michigan, the Name I Don’t Recall, But it is a Lake in Michigan, it’s Just Not the Lake Michigan, Do You Understand?—Lenny can’t think of the name of the lake (Ham) in which he spent some of his youth.
11. The Dressmaker’s Pillow—In Lenny’s costume fitting, he tries to remember from his theatre history class the other word for the dressmaker’s pillow (ham), but he just can’t seem to come up with it.
12. Good News Via Email –Barb gets good news via email. She asks Lenny, “If bad email is spam, what’s good email?” Lenny can’t seem to remember that the opposite of spam email is called ham.
13. The Autobiography of Charles Bukowski—Lenny just completed reading Bukowski’s Ham on Rye. When Barb asks him what book has been reading recently, he can’t remember.
14. Commune—On vacation in Vietnam, Lenny and Barb stay in the Ham Thuan Nam District. Asking someone for directions, Lenny doesn’t remember the name of the district in which they are staying.
15. The Chapman Code for the English County—The code for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is HAM. When asked to fill out an airmail postage slip, Lenny doesn’t know the Chapman Code.
16. N Equals 3—The Ham Sandwich Theorum takes its name from the case when n=3 and the three objects of any shape are a chunk of ham and two chunks of bread. When asked if he can explain this theorem, Lenny has no clue.
17. Hold and Modify—Usually abbreviated as HAM, is a display mode of the Commodore Amiga computer. Lenny used to know this unusual technique, but now he can’t remember anything about it.
18. Convergence Control—In mathematics, convergence of the Homotopy analysis method (HAM) is given an optimal value through the square residual error. Lenny is playing a part in an original play where the lead character discusses this method. He tries to explain to his director what he has learned regarding convergence control, but Lenny can’t seem to remember exactly what HAM stands for.
19. I Ain’t No Challah-Back Girl (The Chorizo Incident)—Lenny fixes an odd breakfast for a few of his conservative Jewish friends. He forgets that they don’t eat ham and Barb scolds him for this.
20. Farm with Loose Compartments—In a small French village called Ham, Lenny and Barb stay at the famous Farm with Loose Compartments. When telling a Parisian woman where they are staying, Lenny can’t seem to think of the name of the village for the life of him.
21. All Saints West—Lenny and Barb visit All Saints West in West Ham, England. Immediately after leaving the church, Lenny wants to visit All Saints West in West Ham, England—much to Barb’s confusion.
22. Doesn’t Anybody Have a Good Recipe for a Croque-Monsieur?—Lenny buys all the essential ingredients for a Croque-Monsieur sandwich, but he neglects to get the ham.
23. Walkaround—On an historic cotton plantation, Lenny learns the step of the juba dance or hambone. When performing with a large group, he forgets the hambone steps and improvises in quite a distasteful manner.
24. The Community of the Glorious Ascension —In the southwest corner of Ham, England, Barb and Lenny visit The Community of the Glorious Ascension. Their tour guide states the name of the village at least fifty times. The tour group thinks Lenny is joking when he asks what the name of the village is.
25. Friends of St. Mary’s Church of Saint Mary Magdalene—In East Ham, Lenny can’t remember if he’s donated to the East Ham Church or not. But Lenny is already a member of the Friend of St. Mary’s. He gave a sizeable donation just minutes before.
26. His Apathetic Majesty—Lenny mistakes the prince’s quiet concern for apathy. He nicknames him His Apathetic Majesty (HAM), but when he runs into the prince a few days later, he has no recollection of ever meeting him.
27. Low-Lying Meadows of Vast Extent—While Barb and Lenny are cow watching in a local meadow on the English country side, Lenny can’t seem to remember that a low-lying meadow of vast extent is also known as ham. He knows it has a funny name. But he thinks it’s something like frog or burp.
28. I Will Not Be Allowed to Love and Trust Everybody. This is Better.—These are the words that Lenny can’t remember when telling Barb about Pete Ham’s suicide note.
29. The Strange Occurrence at The Fogg Museum—The Fogg Museum is part of the Harvard Art Museum (HAM). Lenny can’t remember where he is.
30. On The Silver Star—Lenny and Barb take The Silver Star train to Ham, North Carolina. When Barb asks him if he knows where they are going, Lenny doesn’t have any idea.
31. The Magic City—Birmingham, Alabama is also known as The Magic City. When visiting his childhood home, something magical occurs. He doesn’t remember the name of the city, but the familiar setting sparks numerous new thoughts and much of his memory is instantly restored.
Barb and Lenny travel by train to get back home. Lenny stares out the window as Barb reminds Lenny of where they are headed. She talks with incredible detail about what he should expect. But Lenny’s mind is not grasping her specifics. His mind wavers. His voice cracks. His hands shake. Lenny is not himself anymore.
Lenny and Barb stand in front of a gravestone on the grounds of Morriston Cemetery in Swansea, Wales. One of Lenny’s favorite musicians is buried here, and while reminiscing about the beauty of a specific song, Lenny tells Barb about the singer’s death and the suicide letter he left behind–a note full of such loss and enormous heartbreak. Barb comments that leaving the world without feeling love would be such an awful way to go. “I want to feel love when I leave this world.” And Lenny replies, “I want to feel the skin on the back of your hand when I go. The softness. The paper-like thinness. It’s one of my favorite things in this whole world.” Barb stares at Lenny as her eyes well up with tears. Then after a moment of silence, Lenny tells Barb, “I’m thirsty.” Barb stares at Lenny for a long time as she takes in the moment with all of its heaviness and beauty.
Perched on a stone wall, Lenny and Barb engage in a serene afternoon of cow watching on a low-lying meadow in Switzerland. Lenny is convinced there is a funny synonym for meadow–like burp or frog. But Barb has never heard the word in that context. Instead of a quick disagreement or a simple bout of bickering, things get way out of hand and both Lenny and Barb react harshly, if not violently, toward one another.
While on their trip around the world, Lenny can’t find Barb. At the Botanical Gardens, he stumbles upon two dear friends from years ago. Prince Priam and Ruth are ecstatic to see Lenny, but Lenny doesn’t recognize them and refuses their help to find Barb. Being of royalty, both Prince Priam and Ruth have extraordinary connections and have the potential of transforming Lenny’s situation. But Lenny mistakes their quiet concern for indifference and admonishes them for their behavior. What results is a chance meeting full of loss and longing.
Lenny and Barb visit The Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in one of the boroughs of East London. Lenny, smitten by the congregation, obsesses over the idea of giving a donation to the church to become one of the Friends of St. Mary’s. Lenny feels as if his heart belongs there, but moments later, he forgets about the church and his love for it. Barb is disturbed about how quickly Lenny has moved on.
Lenny and Barb visit The Community of the Glorious Ascension in the southern tip of Devon, England. Sister Martha Frances instructs them that the community was founded on the principles of poverty, chastity and obedience. These restrictions ironically awaken Lenny’s sexual energy, and Barb couldn’t be more thrilled at Lenny’s willingness to forget the community’s guidelines.