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Forget Me Not
Co-Written and Co-Directed by Kyle Marlett and Gunnar Sizemore
St. Louis Actors’ Studio
December 3, 2022

Kyle Marlett
Photo by Patrick Huber
St. Louis Actors’ Studio

St. Louis Actors’ studio is presenting a unique show this month, which isn’t exactly a play. A one-man show starring professional magician Kyle Marlett, Forget Me Not comes across more like performance art, although there apparently is a script, co-written by Marlett and Gunnar Sizemore.  Featuring some audience participation that, to my mind, borders on the intrusive, the show explores Marlett’s life experiences and relationship with his chosen profession, as well as exploring the ideas of memory, secrets, and honesty. 

Marlett comes across as a personable guy, and this show starts out with him introducing himself and what he does. He demonstrates some basic magic tricks, and then starts telling his story, almost as if he’s making up the show as it goes along, although the staging essentially requires a script, as certain lines trigger things that happen in the show–especially when a series of boxes suspended above the stage drop at various times throughout the performance. Marlett tells stories of his life and his family relationships–especially with his older brother and his father–performing feats of illusion along the way. The story gets highly personal, and so does the magic show, as Marlett invites audiences members up onstage to participate, and it increasingly comes across as awkward and more than a little intrusive. I’m sure there are people who like this kind of thing, but I usually find this way of putting strangers on the spot uncomfortable. I’m fairly sure the audience members weren’t “plants”, either.

Still, some of the magic tricks are truly amazing, and the technical effects and coordination of those effects are impressive. It’s an entertaining show in terms of spectacle. Patrick Huber’s lighting design and Marlett’s sound design, featuring highly effective use of music, are excellent. I also find the setup striking, with Marlett alone onstage with only a table and two chairs as furniture, and an array of boxes surrounding him as walls, along with the ones that hang from the ceiling.

As Marlett tells a compelling and, at times, intensely emotional series of stories, the magic tricks and special effects help him tell that story, presenting thought-provoking concepts exploring the ideas of lies vs. honesty, as well as the weight of secrets. It’s certainly a memorable show, true to it’s title, and for attendees who are cool with the more awkward and challenging aspects of it, this will be the most effective. Marlett is a gifted magician, and the blend of theatre and magic is inventive. If you go in knowing what to expect, it’s probably easier to enjoy. 

St. Louis Actors’ Studio is presenting Forget Me Not at the Gaslight Theater until December 18, 2022

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