Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College performs August Strindberg’s A Dream Play in the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse in November. The show opens on Thursday, November 7, at 7.30 PM (“pay-what-you-like-night”). A brief talk-back will follow Thursday’s performance. Additional evening performances are on Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, at 8 PM; a matinee concludes the run on Sunday, November 10 at 2 PM. Tickets are $5 for students with an ID, $10 for seniors, $15 for other adults. A Dream Play is part of the Festival Playhouse’s Golden Anniversary season.
The play explores fundamental questions: Why do we exist, and why is life so difficult? The plot surrounds the daughter of the Hindu god, Indra, who leaves heaven to visit humans on earth. In living with humans as a human herself, her mission is to determine why humans suffer. Director Ed Menta says the production will attempt to create a theatre poem by interweaving Strindberg’s text with Festival Playhouse’s staging, performance, and design.
Senior David M. Landskroener, who serves as composer and music producer for the production, says that “creating live sound effects is such an interesting experience because I’m making sound to accompany a dream. Many times while tinkering around with effects I reject my initial thoughts about a certain sound in a scene and try out multiple options that may not at first sound completely congruent with the action onstage, but reflect the idea of associative links found in a dream.”
Before 1901, plays may have contained a dream sequence, but Strindberg created a new genre with a play that is entirely a dream. In the play’s foreword Strindberg wrote: “Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and place do not exist; on an insignificant basis of reality, the imagination spins, weaving new patterns; a mixture of memories, experiences, free fancies, incongruities and improvisations.”
Given such source materials, one can understand why “It has been a challenge to make all of the 30+ characters come to life,” according to K senior Michael Wecht, assistant director for A Dream Play. “It is my goal, through movement coaching and exercises emphasizing physicality, to help the cast discover each of their roles. This is especially pertinent because most of the actors are playing multiple roles.”
For reservations or more information about Festival Playhouse’s Golden Anniversary season (stay tuned for The Firebugs and Peer Gynt) call 269.337.7333.