A Dream Play performance still

A Dream Play

York University

Use the code “welcome” online or at the box office for two free tickets for either March 15th or 17th 1pm matinee
Box Office: online or tel. 416.736.5888

Theatre @ York’s 2016-17 season, focusing on the theme of Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability, culminates with a compelling contemporary take on A Dream Play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, directed by David di Giovanni. The show previews Mar. 12 and 13, opens Mar. 14 and runs to Mar. 18 in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre at York University’s Keele campus. Wed. Mar. 15 at 1pm is a Relaxed performance and Fri. Mar. 17 at 1pm is an ASL interpreted performance. Strindberg, who wrote A Dream Play in 1901 following a near-psychotic episode, stated that it reflects “the disconnected but apparently logical form of a dream. Everything can happen; everything is possible.” Wild and whirling, sometimes bleak and sometimes funny, A Dream Play is ultimately enchanting. Characters multiply, divide and coalesce, just as they might do in a dream. And inside the frenzy of multiple characters and storylines that jump between memory and real-time, resonates a central chord of hope.

In the play, Agnes, a daughter of the gods, falls from heaven to Earth. Curious, she decides to investigate whether all our complaining about human suffering has merit. Endeavouring to become more human, she marries, has children, goes on vacation… but over time, the sting of living becomes potent. She decides she must return to heaven – only to realize that she cannot.

“Our Agnes is a war journalist who is hospitalized for suicidal tendencies and clinical depression, and we’re framing the play as if she is dreaming it,” di Giovanni said. “Over the course of her dream, she has to lose all hope and hit rock bottom before she can get up and work to climb again.”

Di Giovanni sets the play in 2008 – a time, he notes, of tremendous hope and despair, with Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can”, but also the year of the stock market crash, a declining manufacturing sector, the continuing ‘War on Terror’, and Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

“Today, in 2017, we’re still living with the repercussions and detritus of that turning point,” said di Giovanni. “And so, in keeping with our season’s theme of Difference and Ability, our production explores the invisible disabilities that may affect our ability to engage and take action: what we might call mental illness, clinical depression, PTSD, or even spiritual dampening. We’re looking at the challenges many of us face in interacting with society.”

With Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability, York’s Department of Department is working with members of the wider arts community to challenge traditionally ableist modes of making theatre, guided by an advisory panel of prominent Deaf, mad and “crip” artists who are serving as facilitators for the season. As part of this commitment, Relaxed and ASL interpreted performances have become an integral feature of Theatre @ York’s mainstage productions.

Theatre@York presents August Strindberg’s A Dream Play directed by David di Giovanni