Dream of Me
nytheatre.com review by Mark DeFrancis
February 28, 2009
Why is it that in a world filled with connectivity, it is so difficult to find what we want? With search engines to filter and BlackBerries to bring together, you would think that a soul mate would be nothing more than a point and click. But Dream Of Me, a fast-paced series of vignettes premiering at The Cell, is not so sure. Fueled by a young and vibrant cast, the piece lightly touches on every aspect of sex and relationships, cleverly illustrating the anxiety and the freedom of the modern hunt for Mr. or Mrs. Right. The subject is ambitious, but Dream Of Me's beauty lies in its ability to nimbly leap from scene to scene without ever bogging down where others might.
The work itself grafts scene onto scene with little form or explanation. At times the show, created entire within the rehearsal process, feels like sketch comedy. Men dress as women, anything can happen, and nothing is sacred. But just like that, Dream of Me morphs into a poignant piece, contemplating the softer moments between us.
In order to make these difficult adjustments, Dream Of Me calls on a youthful cast filled with several gems. Jimmy Juste is a versatile actor with a wide range and the comic timing needed to keep the piece light. In a a solid performance, Jenna Weinberg portrays a cynical soul who steadily guides us through the pieces and provides framework from her clever opening monologue through to the conclusion. Julia Zangrilli is another player worth noting. In a show filled with sophomoric humor and antics, she provides poise and steady stage presence, which carries the more dramatic sections of the piece. Finally, Richard Saudek is fantastic, nailing every part he performs and providing laughs and insights in equal measure
If Dream of Me lacks anything, it's a little more bells and whistles. The transitions seem a little clunky and the brief glimpses of video projection effects are fun to watch, but poorly integrated into the piece. Still, Dream Of Me is all about a tight ensemble performance, and it has just that in abundance. Much more than sexual commentary or romantic drama, it is a riff on how we interact; how we brush against each other whether as a missed connection or a life-long soul mate. Dream Of Me, as I said, is ambitious; but it succeeds in tackling a great many issues, and in providing a night at the theatre that's well worth the trip.