Devoted Dreams – Muddled Fable

 

Sarah Swift & Brandon Alan Smith

Barbara Thomas Shelley Valfer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Susan Hasho

 

As the audience enters the theatre, there is a somewhat intrusive lady sitting on the edge of the stage. She is speaking to the audience as they find their seats, commenting on whatever enters her mind and finally speaking about her husband in the back row of the theatre as he stretches and moves toward the stage casually. They join each other onstage and proceed in what would be best described as a Titania, Oberon (Midsummer Night’s Dream) kind of relationship. They are speaking to each other, gesturing toward the audience, the sky, toward each other. It seems like a bad acting class in Shakespearean style and vocal technique.

This play, written by Chistopher B Latro and directed by Anna Bamberger, seems to be a fable for our age about saving some characters on earth from the folly of corporate greed. The opening couple is sending their child down to earth in order to force him to grow up, and perhaps to witness some kind of Truth to the characters he is sent to live with. The play is structured in a series of short scenes that cut from a man named Alexander’s home with his mother waiting for him to return, to the king and queen of the universe (their stated identity) arguing about their son; to a scene with Alexander’s illicit affair with a lady at the office; cut to a boss at the office with same affair lady talking about the transfer of funds, to a lost child (the king and queen’s aforementioned son) taken in by Alexander’s wife and given cookies; to a convoluted argument in the office between Alexander and Ava, to an Ava and boss scene—he toys with her, exposes her manipulative financial trickery; and finally we learn that somebody set somebody up to sleep around to further the financial skullduggery. This is not an exact description of the scenes, but the play ends as Alexander quits the financial game and decides to move with Leslie somewhere else to have a simple life as the kid and king and queen look from the back of the stage in a ghostly way.

This play is somewhat hard to follow. Brandon Alan Smith as Alexander manages to act honestly through the drama and Sarah Swift as Eva and Leslie switches credibly between the two characters. But, still, Devoted Dreams is as muddled as a multi-scene, multi-character, semi-fable can be.

The Beckett Theatre, Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, through June 27th. Performances are Tuesdays at 7pm; Wednesdays-Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm; Sundays 3pm

Photos: Amy Foster

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