Lars Jan’s "The Institute of Memory (TIMe)": A realistic amount of hope  Apr 21, 2017

by Koushik Ghosh

Hope. Is that as important as breath to a child? Is Hope an elastic concept? Is Hope, qualified by reality, just hopeless? How does a child cope with life, when his/her father possesses a 'realistic amount of hope?' 

In The Institute of Memory (TIMe), Lars Jan, recalls his father and remakes him. He invites us to a discovery and then to his invention. Lars Jan seems to say that that recalling parents, our parents who lived with caution, who lived, marked by dread, we memorize them, only to erase and rewrite them. Maybe we want to imbue them with a hope they never professed. Maybe we want to gift them with a different life, in death, a life they never knew when they were alive. Yes, children too can resurrect their dead parents, make them saints, sinners or wave the magic wand of deep generosity and endow them with an infinite grace that they may not have known in life. 

It’s an infinitely touching and generous piece of work, that explores love between generations, love across times, love across space, a love that is archaeological in nature and restorative in spirit. Lars Jan brings his father to life, the man who is obscured himself, and ultimately vanished from his life. He gives himself his father, and to us. 

Lars Jan reconstructs his father, painstakingly, steadily, bit by bit, tissue by tissue, bone by bone, sadness by sadness, terror by terror, hope by hope, till the realistic amount of hope breaks all perimeters of realism, stretches all realities, past and present, and unleashes hope catapulting his father to a space where he glows like a star. 

Lars Jan, with the help of a superb and sparse set, a dense, staccato script, a superb companion on stage, who never leaves him, and the drum of a typewriter, has performed a rescue operation that casts a lie on Samuel Beckett’s “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new,” thus releasing his father, Henryk Ryniewicz from all boundaries of realism, all walls of confinement, to the glory of boundless possibility and infinite hope, peeling away all layers of obscurity into the incandescent density of essence and newness. 

Go join him on this journey, and see what you want to recover and make new.