Monday, April 25, 2011

insomnia the Waking of Herselves

Insomnia and dreams come vividly to life at CPT

Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Though the meaning of dreams is not truly understood there has been a great deal of speculation on their meanings.

Sigmund Freud peaked interest in scientific study of the field of dreams (oneirology) when he attempted to ascertain the relationship between dreams and the development of personality.

INSOMNIA THE WAKING OF HERSELVES, now in its world premiere at Cleveland Public Theatre, is a joint writing collaboration between Holly Holsinger and Chris Seibert, who appear in the production, and Raymond Bobgan, the play’s director.

We are ushered into the world of dreams and insomnia in the attic of a home. One woman, then two and finally three appear. We are unsure of who these people are, whether they are, in fact real, alive or figments of our imaginations and whether we are viewing reality or have been ushered into someone’s dream. As the story unfolds we find that one of them has insomnia and when she does sleep, her fitful dozing is filled with dreams of her insecurities and past and present yearnings. It is only at the end that we gain some understanding of who is real and who is an invention of the imagination.

English neurologist John Hughlings Jackson once wrote, “Find out all about dreams and you will find out all about insanity.” Is one or more of these women insane? Is she or they fighting to figure out who she is? What clues are in the dreams?

INSOMNIA is a challenging theatrical experience. Though there is little physical action, the story is riveting as the audience attempts to use the often bizarre clues to establish exactly what is going on. Songs, limericks, role plays and games hint, enhance, confuse and enlighten.

The acting quality is outstanding. This is one fine and talented cast. The characters are each carefully etched and remain engrossing throughout. Bravo to Holly Holsinger, Christ Seibert and Anne McEvoy. It’s worth attending the production just to see these three in action.

Bobgan’s directing is precise, the pacing excellent. Thoughthere are places where the script could be tightened, for a first production, there is much more positive then negative.

Joan Horvitz’s attic design is excellent. Maybe a little more clutter was needed, making the visual attic feel more realistic.

Capsule judgement: CPT’s INSOMNIA THE WAKING OF HERSELVES is blessed with flawless acting and is well paced. Anyone who is interested in good acting and a challenging theatrical experience should go to this production.