I don’t usually go to staged readings of works in progress, but “Do You Remember Me?” at the National Arts Club (October 19, 2015) looked promising, with Len Cariou and Margaret Ladd in the cast. The play, by French author Pierre Delerive based on his book, was presented by the club’s Theatre Arts Committee and introduced by Robin Lane, who conducts a series of such events and worked with the playwright to bring the work to public attention.

As it turns out, “Do You Remember Me?” is a drama in progress that merits being more widely shown. The subject matter is important--exploring events that occurred in Paris during the Nazi occupation and the results that still linger. It can be seen as part of the continuing effort to come to grips with what happened during that period of collaboration and resistance.

In the reading, simply staged under the direction of Vincent Marano, Cariou took the role of the older Louis, whose past is stirred when he gets a call from someone asking if he remembers him. Louis, facing divorce, comments as the play switches into the past, when he was a young man, a part read by Gabriel Furhman, and in love with young Suzanne (Kristin Parker). The play eventually comes full circle with the older Louis visited by the older Bertrand (Craig Braun), a friend from their youthful days, depicted in the earlier years by Nicholas Braun.

The drama covers a broad territory, from 1943 to 2004, examining events, loyalties, emotions, relationships and haunting questions as the characters age. It works up to quite a climax which you may or may not anticipate.

Other cast members, seated on chairs until it was their turn to appear, included the distinguished Ladd, cast as the elder Suzanne and James Michael Armstrong as occupier Hauptmann Von Lutz, with Barbara Halas reading stage directions that cue the action.

It will be interesting to see if this provocative play can be mounted into full scale production for a regular run. Posted October 22, 2015.

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