Watch the Trailer: "The Rest I Make Up"
A new documentary about the greatest playwright you've never heard of.
Maria Irene Fornés, left, with Susan Sontag
Photo by Mort Schleifer, courtesy of Robert Steed
“Even if all she’d written was Fefu and Her Friends and Mud, the playwright and director Maria Irene Fornés, almost eighty years old now, would have done more than her fair share in terms of changing the face of theatre in this country.” —Hilton Als, The New Yorker, March 2010.
In 2003, The Rest I Make Up began not as a film, but as a collaboration between two friends—young journalist Michelle Memran and the widely influential (yet largely unknown) avant-garde playwright and director Maria Irene Fornés.
fornes, left, with memran. Image: Supplied
Fornés had stopped writing and teaching due to dementia. Memran lacked confidence in her own voice. Together, they discovered that a camera could ignite their creative process. The film integrates footage of their journeys in New York, Cuba, Miami and Seattle and interviews with over 50 of Fornés's contemporaries, students and relatives. At turns master class, artist portrait and Fornés play, the film reveals her indefatigable capacity to be mindful and make theatre out of the everyday. Using the lens as a pen and Irene as a teacher, The Rest I Make Up creatively moves two characters (mentor and student) towards connection in the face of forgetting. In doing so, it celebrates the exquisite spontaneity and unflappable force that is Fornés—an artist and educator whose plays and writing workshops unwittingly shaped American theatre.