Saturday, 25 June 2016

Donny's Brain by Rona Munro

Donny's Brain by Rona Munro
First performed at Hampstead Theatre in September 2012. LA Theatre Works audiobook published in January 2016.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Eyes and WorldReads: Scotland.

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Downloaded the audiobook from AudioSYNC

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Playwright Rona Munro is Scottish so I am counting Donny's Brain as my fourth book for the 2016 Read Scotland Challenge.

Donny's Brain is one of this week's pair of audiobooks from AudioSYNC, an American initiative which offers free-to-download audiobooks, suitable for young adult listeners, throughout the summer. Books are offered two a week for fifteen weeks, usually available from a Thursday until the following Wednesday. Donny's Brain can be downloaded from AudioSYNC for free until the 30th of June and thereafter purchased through the links above.

'This play is part of L.A. Theatre Works' Relativity Series, featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.  An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production directed by Martin Jarvis and recorded at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood.'

Donny (Jared Harris) has awoken in hospital after a car crash. His head injury resulted in brain damage leaving him with no memory of the past three years. As far as he is concerned this time might as well have not happened. He doesn't recognise his wife of two years, Trish (Siobhan Hewlett) and believes he is still happy in his previous relationship with Emma (Sophie Winkleman), and stepfather to her daughter Fiona (Moira Quirk). Neurologist Al (Paul Fox) is using Donny's situation for research and persuades Emma to visit the hospital.

I am now in my third summer of enjoying AudioSYNC's audiobook selection and I think this is also my third LA Theatre Works play from that source. By audiobook standards it is a short listen at just an hour and a half, but packs quite a punch and I found myself wondering just how I would cope in such a situation. The play explores some of the science of our brains, how they work and can repair themselves, but mainly asks questions about how much of our identity is innate and how much simply results from an accumulation of memories and experience. How can someone completely forget love? Or hatred? It's a fascinating premise and an engrossing play which works well as just audio without any visual element. I had no problem identifying who was speaking and found the whole work to be entertaining and thought-provoking.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rona Munro / Plays / Books from Scotland

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