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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Pitt Stages play ‘That’s Not How I Remember It’ finds comedy in memory and ‘80s nostalgia

Students+perform+in+the+Pitt+Stages+production+of+%E2%80%9CThat%E2%80%99s+Not+How+I+Remember+It%E2%80%9D+in+the+Richard+E.+Rauh+Studio+Theatre.
Image via Pitt Stages
Students perform in the Pitt Stages production of “That’s Not How I Remember It” in the Richard E. Rauh Studio Theatre.

The Richard E. Rauh Studio Theatre swelled with laughter last Friday as it hosted the Pitt Stages production of “That’s Not How I Remember It.” The one-act play, which ran from March 1 to March 3, was written by playwright, novelist and educator Don Zolidis and directed by junior social work major and theater arts minor Ty’Mariya Moss. 

The play follows a mom and dad recounting radically different versions of the story of how they met in 1986 to their child. Through their dual perspectives, “That’s Not How I Remember It” reimagined the age-old he-said, she-said debate to question the accuracy of memory and expose the stereotypes of the 1980s. 

Maddie Decker, a junior English fiction writing and theater arts major, was assistant stage manager on the play alongside first-year business major Colin Eccher. She said “That’s Not How I Remember It” is a mordant but comical exploration of the ’80s.

“I would describe it as an amalgamation of every ’80s stereotype you can think of perfectly crafted into a satire that will leave everyone laughing,” Decker said.

Family, friends and students packed into the small theater on opening night, and sure enough, they howled with laughter from the beginning to the end. The audience was especially responsive to the gang of bruiser waitresses, the faux karate fights set to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” and the foreign exchange student Mom and Dad argued was Finnish and Indian, respectively.

Samuel Couch, a sophomore business and theater arts major, played the role of Dad. Couch did stage management with Pitt Stages last semester but made his Pitt Stages acting debut in “That’s Not How I Remember It.” He said Dad contributes to the hilarity of the play through his version of events, but the efficacy of his recollection is up for debate.

“I think a lot of what’s at the root of this character is kind of, you know, wanting to bring some brevity and light to the situation … all around trying to be silly and goofy,” Couch said. “It’s a debate we’ve had as a cast whether or not he actually believes the story he’s telling, or if he’s just telling it to get a laugh out of his kid.”

Dad’s hyper-masculine perspective contested Mom’s feminist-leaning perspective, which emphasized the disparity between typical female and male representation in ‘80s cinema. The play made a direct reference to the genre of films it critiqued when Dad accused Mom of recreating John Hughes’ 1984 rom-com “Sixteen Candles” in her version of events.

Gianna Healy, a first-year biology major with a minor in theater arts, played Jessica and Nurse 1. Nurse 1 was only present in Dad’s version of events, but she said the depth of Jessica fluctuated depending on which parent was telling the story.

“I definitely have to play two different visions of Jessica, one with thoughts and feelings and the other whose … one of the lines is ‘I’m just a girl, my brain isn’t made for thinking,’” Healy said, laughing.

The play overtly portrayed gender stereotypes to critique their real-life impact, not propagate them, Healy said. 

“Honestly, every bit of this show that points out something that’s problematic in any way is for the sake of calling it out,” Healy said. “It’s poking fun at these harsh mentalities that were seen in these stereotypical ‘80s movies and shows and then were carried with this generation that grew up watching the movies.”

Alyssa Dausch, a sophomore elementary education major, played Lola, the younger version of Mom. Dausch said playing two variations of Lola, as well as the fast pace of production, was challenging but enjoyable. 

“I think the quickness of the process has been a little bit hard,” Dausch said. “In Mom’s version, Lola is kind of quintessential ’80s girl, more like has her own spirit, and then in Dad’s version, she’s a total stereotypical heartthrob girl and very dramatic and over the top. So playing those two opposite each other and switching up each scene is a little bit more difficult, but it’s really fun.”

Decker said from her perspective, the production time wasn’t a challenge because of the incredible effort of those involved.

“The pace of the show is different to what I’ve done in the past, but I don’t think it’s been too challenging,” Decked said. “Our cast is great, they’ve been great with everything we’ve gone through so far … the stage management team is fantastic, the directors are fantastic. It’s just been a really great process so far.”

Sharing the behind-the-scenes workload with another assistant stage manager was a welcome change from her last Pitt Stages production, Decker said.

“I was the only assistant stage manager on [Corsicana], and it’s nice having another assistant stage manager this show,” Decker said. “Having more hands on the set is so helpful to the process, and it’s just like a lot more fun, frankly.”

Healy also praised the creative team. She said the artistic freedom Moss granted them was a notable, welcome change from her theater experiences in high school. 

“In the past, it was ‘what the director says is what you’re doing and end of story,’ but here, there’s so much room for freedom and growth in your character,” Healy said. “Ty’Mariya is driving the bus, but all of us get a say. So it’s really cool.”

The modest set, which consisted of a small couch, rug and end table, created a lively atmosphere. On stage, multicolored overhead lights and geometric decals framing the two exits represented the chromatic diversity of the ’80s, while the actors’ comb overs, sunglasses and leather jackets spoke for the fashion of the time. A few audience members contributed to the theme, too, by sporting bomber jackets and flare jeans. 

Evan Knott, a sophomore communications major who starred as Barry, the young version of Dad, said he hopes people see there is depth to be gleaned from the play, even with its conspicuous comical elements. 

“It’s one of those things where I feel like even though it might just seem like a little bit goofy and it might just be like a good old fun time, I feel like there can be an interesting message behind it,” Knott said. “It makes you think, ‘How did you act previously?’ And ‘how do you look back upon it now?’”

About the Contributor
Daniella Levick, Senior Staff Writer
Daniella Levick is a first-year English poetry writing major. She is Australian, a shameless Oxford comma enthusiast and crazy cat lady who spends an embarrassing amount of time trying to stop her kitten from walking on her keyboard. In her free time she daydreams about a parallel universe where her to-be-read pile is not taller than her.