The Performance of Impermanence
Memorizing Her Lines Is Out of the Question[ ... Read the full article ... ]
By DAVID CARR
The New York Times
Published: October 9, 2005
THE first time I met Caris Corfman after her one-woman show at the Flea Theater, she looked - almost stared - into the very backs of my eyes as I told her how I enjoyed her performance. She was flattered and incredibly gracious.
The second time I met Ms. Corfman, she again stared and responded graciously. But she had no idea who I was. It was exactly five minutes later.
She can't remember. Ten years ago doctors detected a benign tumor in her brain. A series of four operations removed the tumor but damaged the part of the brain that regulates short-term memory. As a result, she not only forgets who she met five minutes ago, but she also can't remember if she took her medicine, if she ate, if she should go right or left or just stay put. The long-term memory remains, which is both a sad and a wonderful thing.
She is direct about the loss: "No memory, no life; no memory, no career; no memory. No, it's not that tragic; I do have a life and at times it's quite a wondrous one, but damn it, it would be such a treat to remember it!"
Anthony H. Risser | neuroscience | neuropsychology | brain