Review: The Archive of Educated Hearts

Lion House Theatre
Pleasance Courtyard – until August 27th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

Only five audience members can experience The Archive of Educated HeartsĀ at a time, which creates a cozy, intimate atmosphere in a little hut that is completely furnished with scrawled diary entries, answer-phone messages blinking on an old landline, a shoebox of postcards and cassette tapes winding stories across years and continents. More of an installation coupled with storytelling than a performance, Casey Jay Andrews shares bittersweet anecdotes about her mother and aunts, and their shared history of breast cancer. The stories are tender, yet characterised by their tellers’ determination to lead the fullest lives and build the deepest bonds with their daughters and families before time runs out.

The entire set-up is simple. Andrews controls all the lighting, ranging from dim to very dim, and the music, as she flips photographs, replays audio recordings and writes on a chalk board. Through it all, there is laughter, generosity and wisdom that only the educated hearts will fully understand. Being up close and personal, audience members will probably hear sniffling coming from someone else during this briefly shared moment.