Dreams of Home
nytheatre.com review by Richard Hinojosa
October 26, 2007
Maybe the secret to writing a love story is not writing one. The love comes because it has to... because the story is about people you might know or people you might become. The characters in Dreams of Home are real. They are as flawed as they are beautiful and their story is told like a modern lyrical fairy tale.
Pedro and Sandra, homeless and sleeping on the subway platform up on 103rd and Lexington Avenue, cross paths with great suspicion. They are visited by the Angel of Death, who prefers to be called Dolores, and her twisted, little manservant Hobie. Dolores toys with them in their dreams and brings back people from their lives to confront. As they dream of food and shoes and their ex-spouses spring to life with both euphoric and tragic effects they discover their common bonds and desires.
Dreams of Home is a funny, dark, and touching play. Playwright Migdalia Cruz writes with such a beautiful, lyrical style that it's easy to get caught up in the story. It's about people we see every day but we never really look at. We give them money so we don't have to look. Or we look but never consider what their lives may have been like before they ended up on the street.
Cruz shows us that our flaws run as deep as our beauty. She uses poetics, the surreal world of our dreams, and the harsh realities of life on the street to reveal her story and its unavoidable ending. She fills this play with honest, exposing monologues and passionate scenes along with some very funny exchanges. The love story comes from her characters desire to feel normal again... to feel that they can escape the gaze of the world and be alone and happy.
Director Jennifer Ortega gives us a wonderfully stylized conception of the play. She balances the abstract and the real so perfectly. She draws the attention to just exactly where it needs to be every time. She takes the darkest of scenes and makes them theatrical so that you still feel horrible but not assaulted. As far as her production, David Withrow's costumes, Christopher Brown's lighting, and Curtis Curtis's sound come together to give the show a detail-oriented, well-thought-out look.
Her cast does a great job handling the sometimes very poetic text. Elise Bocanegra is very alluring and mysterious as the Angel of Death. Jeremy Beck contorts his body to create a hilarious and sometimes sad Hobie. Stacey Jensen gives a very heartfelt Sandra but I didn't read homeless in her character as much as I did in Juan Villa's Pedro. Villa creates a very faceted and often funny character who made me want to know more about his life before the street. Tyler Hollinger and Heidi Azaro are both great in their supporting roles—he with his booming voice, and she with her sleek, hungry sex appeal.
Monarch Theater Company does a fantastic job on this production. It looks as beautiful as the story it's telling. It proves that even if we lose everything we own, we never lose our capacity to dream nor for compassion.