Cole Kazdin Has Amnesia

Rather, she had amnesia. Or maybe she still has it. Never mind: I’ll just let her explain everything.

But first, let me introduce who I’m referring to: none other than actress and writer, Cole Kazdin, whose new solo show, The Cole Kazdin Amnesia Project (I Don’t Remember the Name of This Show), debuts at The Brick Theater’s Pretentious Festival next month. In it, she chronicles…well, I’ll let her tell you. She may not remember the name of her show, but she sure remembers a lot of other stuff.

Having been a fan of Cole’s previous solo show, My Year of Porn, I was happy she agreed to talk with me about her latest one. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: Is The Cole Kazdin Amnesia Project (I Don’t Remember the Name of This Show) based on actual events?

A: Yes! Several years ago on the set of a low-rent, non-union television pilot – I was made to do a stunt where I was thrown into the air and then not caught. Nightmare. I had varying degrees of both short and long-term amnesia – most of which I do not recall …

Q: What made you decide to make a show out of this?

A: I’ve told the story at various storytelling venues – including The Moth and Brick-a-Brac … But it wasn’t until the folks at the Brick asked me to put up a 30 minute theatrical version for a works-in-progress series last fall that I started seriously considering it as anything more than just a story I tell. It’s great fun because the very nature of the story gives so much license to play with reality and time.

Q: Did you create the show in generally the same way you created your previous show, My Year of Porn, or did you take a different approach this time around?

A: Totally different. My Year of Porn was a circus of all these crazy characters so I really let them drive the story. I spent a lot of time just improvising in character and then writing it down and organizing it later.

With the Amnesia Project there’s a more personal story – and I don’t mean that in the autobiographical, cheesy one-person show sense, but more along the lines of – how do you know who you are if you can’t remember anything? The whole process was much less defined – trying to get back to that “amnesia” place and swimming around in it and then seeing what snaps me out – a photo, a distant memory, a Neil Diamond song.

Q: Since you’re debuting the show at the Pretentious Festival, I have to ask: what’s pretentious about amnesia?

A: Well, have YOU ever had amnesia? I thought not …

Q: What’s been your greatest challenge in putting the show together?

A: I’m seriously not making a joke here – but the most challenging thing has been remembering what actually happened to me. Which is still so much a blur. Obviously for the purposes of the play, I’ve fictionalized and dramatized quite a bit. But it has been a struggle to put myself back in that head where I had amnesia and didn’t really know anything just to be able to write about it in a real way.

Q: Will The Cole Kazdin Amnesia Project (I Don’t Remember the Name of This Show) have a life beyond the festival?

A: I hope so! I’m curious to get it up in front of an audience and then see what happens next …

As you can see, Cole is charming. She positively exudes this quality on stage, and I’m very glad that I’ll have the opportunity to see her in action again. I’m looking forward to what she has in store for us.

My review of Cole’s show will be part of our Pretentious Festival coverage here at nytheatre.com, so make sure to keep an eye out for it in the next couple of weeks.

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