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Practice as Research project: That Berlin Moment: Memory, Imagination and the Playwright

Dickenson, Sarah


Sarah Dickenson


Play script. Paper; Memory, Intent and the Scriptwriter. Delivered at the conference, Authoring Theatre: New Performance, Text and the Return of the Auteur. Central School of Speech and Drama. London. 14th-15th July 2011. It is the interface between fidelity to the writer’s personal memories, their memories of the writing process and the tale told which I aimed to interrogate when writing the play; That Berlin Moment, never losing sight of my original research intent which is to enable the audience to reflect on and consider how life is and could be lived . Mazzoni and Memon concluded that, The production of false beliefs and memories was not due to an increase in familiarity with the event... the effect of imagination was stronger than the effect of familiarity.” (Mazzoni and Memon 2003: 5) How strong and effective imagination can be has been recorded in one study by Geraerts, Bernstein, Merckelbach, Linders, Raymaekers and Loftus. (2008) Mazzoni argues that the individual strives for the “person self” to be a whole entity. “We cannot miss parts of ourselves. If we feel a part of ourselves is missing or a moment of behaviour is out of context we need to find an explanation, justification and reason for this. We need to fit that odd piece of behaviour into our “person self” and make it fit”. (Mazzoni interview 2011). Furthermore, once memory is influenced it then adapts to the influence rather than return to the original memory. Ultimately what memories appear to be doing is attempting to create coherent narratives regardless of the’ truth’ perceived or otherwise. From a playwright’s point of view, the instability of the imagination is intriguing. If imagination is such a powerfully creative but untrustworthy tool and its chameleon like quality means it moves away from rather than towards the triggering memory, then the potential for conflict makes imagination’s manipulation of memory fertile source material for the creation of dramatic text.


Dickenson, S. (2011). Practice as Research project: That Berlin Moment: Memory, Imagination and the Playwright. (Unpublished)

Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2011
Publication Date Jan 1, 2011
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