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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

How to Keep Time: A Drum Solo for Dementia

Antosh Wojcik / Penned in the Margins

Genre: Solo Performance, Solo Show, Spoken Word, Storytelling

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

What happens when memories disappear? Where do they go – and can we get them back? Using just his voice and a Roland TD-4KP electronic drum kit, Antosh Wojcik explores the effects of inherited Alzheimer’s on speech, memory and family. Poems become beats become glitches in time in a mesmerising display of live drumming and spoken word.


Using  just  his  voice  and  a  Roland  TD – 4KP  electronic  drum kit,  award-winning  poet  Antosh  Wojcik explores  the effects  of  dementia  on  speech,  memory  and  family in his debut work for  theatre.

The problem with being a drummer is that you hear rhythms in everything

Wojcik plays himself, arriving to visit his grandfather in hospital. He has brought his drums in an attempt to connect to and communicate with the frail and confused Dziadek.

Using  an extraordinary range of sound and vocal percussion he takes us on a journey, a kaleidoscope of images, memories, sounds, fragments… and gooseberries. We can picture his grandfather as he recreates Dziadek’s hesitant and unclear speech, as well as take us through images, memories.

There are also entertaining tangents – imagining himself and his best drumming mate aged 90 in residential care, the strains of Vera Lynn and the like long forgotten, when they will be metal heads banging out old songs on the arms of the chairs.

The result is an extraordinary and powerful exploration of what language might be when there are no longer any words. Through his drumming he finds a new language, a new way to connect and find his way into memories. The effect is mesmerising, and a little overwhelming if heavy metal isn’t your thing, but perhaps that’s part of the point…

He does say it’s heavy metal, amongst other things, so it may be picky to suggest that a little more light and shade, texture and perhaps reflective moments might deepen the impact.

Overall,  words really cannot describe or capture the impact of this stunning debut piece, it needs to be experienced. A Must See