First performed at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater, Germany on June 17, 2011. UK premiere was at Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh on August 3, 2011.
Dr. Jacopo Annese/Henry Molaison Sebastien Lawson
Patient HM/Father Pieter Lawman
Nurse/Lauren/Mother Melody Grove
Directors: Liam Jarvis and Hannah Barker
Set Designer: Anike Sedello
Lighting Designer: Alexander Fleischer
Sound Designer: Alexander Garfath
Multimedia Designer: Thor Hayton
Stage Manager: Helen Mugridge
Publication: Barker, Hannah. 2401 Objects. Oberon Modern Plays, 2011. Drama Library PR6102.A76335 A615 2011.
Setting: The play takes place in Hartford, Connecticut, 1953; the Bickford Health Centre, Connecticut from 1988–2008; and at The Brain Observatory, San Diego, 2011.
No. No Henry. No. Fine. We’ll do nothing. That’s right. We’ll sit here and do nothing as we always do. Sit here and do nothing and and just… Just quietly disappoint each other for the rest of our lives.
Plot: In 1953, Henry Molaison, an epileptic, wakes up from an experimental surgery in which his hippocampus has been removed, without any recollection of the last two years of his life or the ability to form new memories. In 2009, Dr. Jacopo Annese dissects his brain live on the internet and cuts it into 2401 slices. The play explores his life before and after the surgery.
Representative Monologues: Monologues contain the first few lines and the last few lines; please consult the published text for the monologue in its entirety.
The only character who has any monologues in 2401 Objects is Dr. Annese, who also plays Henry as a young man.
p.42–43: Dr. Annese explaining how Dr. Scoville performed the experimental surgery on Henry. Comes from a much longer monologue.
First he had to pull down the skin from Henry’s forehead. Then, he uses a hole saw—the type you wind by hand—to cut through the skull. Just above one of the eye sockets, he grinds through the bone and removes a disc of about three centimeters in diameter. He repeats this procedure above the other eye. Two holes. Now he can see the brain.
He snaps a few tiny metal clips onto the frayed lesion to seal it, and then does as good a job as he can putting Henry’s head back as it was.
p.60–61: Dr. Annese explaining what the hippocampii do. Long monologue, can be edited.
Your thumbs rest just on top of your ears, and the heel of your hand is sort of on your forehead. There you’ve got the idea.
And you can feel bone case underneath your hands. And under that, your brain. [Lines cut] And about five centimeters travelling straight in from where your thumbs are, is where your hippocampii live.
You see Henry, Patient HM. There is a memory there. And then, that memory, is gone.
p. 24–27: Henry meets Lauren, who lives next door and is home from college for the summer. Henry, because of his condition, can’t live on his own or work or go to school anymore. Starts with
and ends with
Yes. Yeah. Bye. Yes.
p.38–40: HM is watching To Have and Have Not in the hospital when the Nurse arrives to see what he wants for breakfast. Since HM can’t make new memories, they continually have the same exchanges over and over again throughout the scene. Starts with
and ends with
That’s lovely. Now. I’ll get you your breakfast.
Select Bibliography of Reviews and Criticism: (Note: article title links are to the online versions, mostly UW-only restricted unless designated as open access.)
Barnett, L. (2011, Aug 19). Scientific odyssey in memory of an amnesiac. The Daily Telegraph, pp. 32.
Hutera, D. (2011, July 29). Theatre. The Times (London), pp. 13.
Jones, A. (2011, Aug 25). Amnesiac’s story lingers in the memory. Independent Extra, pp. 16.
McMillan, J. (2011, Aug 11). Review: 2401 objects/what remains. The Scotsman, pp. 13.