Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Dream of Life"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Larry Stark

"Dream of Life"
The Impossible Theatre of Federico Garcia Lorca

Directed by Matthew Woods

Lighing Design by Batley Costa
Light Board Operation by Amanda LaForge
Costuming Assistant Cotton Talbot-Minkin
Props and Sets by The Ensemble
Production Assistant Michael Underhill
Sound by Matthew Woods

The Ensemble

Mauro Canepa
Kevin Kordis
Kathleen McGovern
Amy Meyer
Tyler Peck
Aimee Rose Ranger
Kiki Samko
Amy Sonnanstine
Michael Underhill

Federico Garcia Lorca was a Spanish poet, a revolutionary, and a playwright who wrote poetic, revolutionary plays --- so in 1936 at the beginning of the war the nationalist Fascists arrested and murdered him. He was at the time working on "A Play Without A Title" that explored the idea of what theater Isn't. The thesis of the poet/playwright who addresses the audience directly is that, if theater is busy being merely entertaining, there are Many things --- and many of those Exciting things --- that it isn't. But --- why can't it Try? So when Matthew Woods' Imaginary Beasts follows the poet by attempting to bring half a dozen of Lorca's Impossible Plays to life, expect the unexpected.

As you walk in there may be a figure in a satin vest and lace-up boots asleep in the front row with a top-hat over its face. The audience may argue with the playwright about reality in the theatre versus the theatrical simulation of reality. (Will a war really break out in the lobby? Are those bombing-planes you can hear up above?) Isn't everything in the theater illusion? Why is it so hard to tell the truth?

At the far end of the three-quarter-thrust play-space from the audience hangs a billowing shower-curtain --- or is it a parachute? Lights turn the billows into red-orange flame; a woman is dressed while quoting a poem and Presto! becomes Pierrot; Buster Keaton takes a walk --- on a bicycle; and two snails --- one white one black --- crawl slowly over the edges of the curtain, menaced by a huge, shaggy black rat. People appear and dsiappear, emerge or are swallowed by the curtain, appear in new clothes and are new people.

Is ANY of it real? Where does the poet disappear to, and will he re-appear before the final tableau? Is sincerity all you need to make what you say true? Can even deadly seriousness be ... entertaining???

If you like, or more accurately if you Don't like you can leave at any time or you can stay after and talk with the actors and the director about Lorca and his ideas. (The night I was there Both took place.) But whatever --- illusion or truth --- happens, whatever comfortable ideas you may have about theater will probably never be quite the same. The Imaginary Beasts play hard-ball with ideas and there are no guarantees.
Attend at your own risk......


"Dream of Life" (12 - 27 June)
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide