“All my life I’ve taken such pride in my great memory. But now, Doctor, I’m tasked with learning how to forget.”

A Soviet journalist with the gift of total recall. A psychologist seeking to rehabilitate herself. A government censor with a secret past. Over two decades their fates become entwined as victims and collaborators in Stalin’s campaign to rewrite public memory.

Long before fake news was a trending topic, it was called propaganda. And in the Soviet Union, circa 1938, it was the grease that kept Stalin’s machinery of terror in motion. Memoirs of a Forgotten Man takes us to a world where justice is arbitrary and freedom as we know it does not exist.

  • World Premiere: Contemporary American Theatre Festival, July 6 – 29, 2018. Directed by Ed Herendeen. Sponsored by Peter Emch.
  • Available in “Plays by Women from the Contemporary American Theatre Festival,” published by Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Memoirs of a Forgotten Man is being produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Shepherdstown, W.Va.; New Jersey Repertory Co., Long Branch, N.J.; and Shadowland Stages, Ellenville, N.Y. For more information see
  • Developed at the HBMG Foundation’s Winter Retreat, Creede, Colo., January 2016
  • Semi-finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, 2017.

“Memory is a treacherous force in “Memoirs of a Forgotten Man,” D.W. Gregory’s suspenseful and carefully wrought what-if, set in the Soviet Union during, and just after, Stalin’s rule.” – The Washington Post

“A powerful, well-constructed play … a festival standout.” – WYPR, Baltimore Public Radio

“The beauty of “Memoirs of a Forgotten Man” is its ability to live on different planes at the same time .… Gregory’s characters are intricately wrought, double casting is brilliantly and surprisingly employed, and the entire production soars to an intense, dramatic climax.” – Maryland Theatre Guide

“In Memoirs, Gregory has crafted a gem of a play about collective and personal memory which, given the wretched flow of current events, should give everyone pause.” – DC Metro Theatre Arts


Memoirs of a Forgotten Man is written for a space that can easily represent various locations (the office of the investigator, Natalia’s office at the psychological hospital, Mother’s kitchen, a schoolroom, etc.). Through the use of lighting, projections and on-stage costume changes, the action is intended to move fluidly from place to place and back and forth through time.

The action takes place in Moscow and points East, circa 1957, and St. Petersburg, 1937 – 38. The play is written so that four actors can double into 10 parts.

Run Time: 2 hours, with an intermission


Four actors can double into 10 parts

Cast of Characters:

  • Kreplev, a government investigator, mid to late 50s
  • Natalya Berezina, psychologist, mid 40s
  • Alexei S., a man with an incredible memory, early 30s
  • Vasily, his brother, late 30s
  • Sonia, their mother, 40 at first, later about 60
  • Markayevna, Alexei’s childhood teacher
  • Utkin, Alexei’s editor
  • Demidova, a displaced aristocrat, nearly 60
  • Azarov, a carnival performer, about 50 years old
  • An old peasant woman

The action moves between an office in Moscow, circa 1957, and various locations in Leningrad in 1937-38.

The play is written so that four actors can double into 10 parts, as follows:

  • Actor 1: Alexei/the Amazing Azarov
  • Actor 2: Kreplev/Vasily
  • Actor 3: Natalya/Madame Demidova
  • Actor 4: Peasant Woman/Miss Markayevna/Mother/Utkin

A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere:

  1. Contemporary American Theatre Festival, 07.06.18 – 07.29.18
  2. Shadowland Stages, 06.24.19 – 07.07.19
  3. New Jersey Repertory Co., 08.15.19 – 9.15.19

New Jersey Repertory, staged reading, 03.12.2018.

Writers Theatre of New Jersey, staged reading, 01.08.2018.

HBMG Foundation Workshop, 01.21.2018 – 01.27.2018.

Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Fest Staged Reading, 09.04.2017.

Reading, PA Theatre Project, staged reading, 05.06.2017.