As someone who dreams vividly almost every night, and who can rarely find anyone at the breakfast table remotely interested in hearing all about it, I went to see The Dream Makers with great expectations - and I was rewarded! Not that the dreams portrayed in this performance were anything like mine but then mine are never anything I order, whereas the ones in the show did try to be, but evidently sometimes disappointed the clients in not being romantic or terrifying enough.
The programme did not make clear whose original idea this play was nor who wrote the script (perhaps one or several people?), but they should be complimented on the inspiration of the idea and the frequent wit of the script. A slight criticism here: a few of the young actors need to learn to enunciate more clearly, perhaps by speaking more slowly, as some of the witty gems were lost in poor diction. Most of the performers were skilled and well-rehearsed way beyond their years, in the dialogue and in the complex, wonderfully choreographed dancing and dream-mayhem.
The set too was rather beautifully colourful, ordered chaos; the costumes were all good but also nicely differentiated in style so that one could quickly get the significant roles of the different groups - Dream Actors, Grounders, Crew, Dreamers. The five dreamers were not, of course, a team - each of us dreams alone - and each of them coped well with their quite difficult solo roles, isolated sometimes in the midst of deliberate Dionysian chaos. The dream sequences were impressively staged and the last two were quite beautiful. The lighting and music made a big contribution to these and indeed to the whole show.
In the midst of all the weird fun of this performance, I was moved by two underlying and sensitive themes: one of these was the theme conveyed by Beka's search for her friend Keri who had moved on from being a Grounder to becoming a Dream Actor and, in the process, had forgotten Beka. This touched on one of the difficulties of childhood and adolescence - the need to grow up, to move on, and to accept that things cannot stay the same and childhood friends may not be friends forever. This was nicely and not mawkishly spelled out in the final scene when Beka moves on to become a Dream Actor herself and leaves her team of colleagues, the Grounders. They, the Grounders bring me to my second hidden message - and to compliment this group of young actors, particularly the Supervisor. They were the ones who moved in after the dreams were over and cleaned up the mess that was left behind. They were not allowed to see or be part of the fun of the dreams: as far as the Dream Actors were concerned they did not even exist. As their well acted Supervisor reminded them, the least breach of the rules and they would lose their lowly jobs. How like a City Office block where the cleaners, on minimum wage or less in some cases, come on site at 4a.m, clean and disappear long before the first smart-suited office worker arrives. What a satisfying, many- layered show this was!