- Dream Sailors: Episodes 1 and 2
- By Randy Baker
- Directed by Colin Hovde
- Produced by Rorschach Theatre
- Reviewed by Lorraine Treanor
Randy Baker wrote a psycho-thriller serial complete with an apparent villain capable of surfing the subconscious. Then Rorschach found a basement rehearsal room, and let director Colin Hovde and his team run wild with the staging.
Since this is a review written after seeing only two episodes, it comes with a warning: all conclusions may be false.
Dream Sailors appears to be a locked room mystery. After a night of playing Go Fish and taking drugs to induce Lucid Dreaming, (a disciplined form of sleep where the dreamer is aware and possibly in control of the dream) four friends awake to the worst kind of morning after: Chase, the fifth guest, who had been sleeping nearby, has been tortured and murdered.
Ah, but this locked room isn’t in an Agatha Christie mansion with a butler nearby. It’s the basement family room of Terry’s (Casie Platt) parents’ suburban home. If you’re thinking ‘call the police’, they’re way ahead of you: All phones are wireless, the handsets are upstairs; the only exit door is locked and the key is missing; the window has bars, and the computer in an offstage room, is an old Compaq that never dreamed of the internet.
Daryl (Tony Bullock) is the only one who hears the ghastly ghostly whispers that we hear. It says they must find a man from the past who is almost a stranger, and go back to the moment they were most afraid. Finally – something these dream surfing Oneironauts can do.
Episode 1 ‘Jacob’s Fence’ is Darryl’s dream. He’s a party guy, so his dreams are heavy on dancing and hooking up; he was in the middle of a dance when the show began. When he goes back, we meet two villain types, Ted (Shane Wallis) and The Stranger (Gary Weatherford), who bears a striking resemblance to Daryl. Coincidence? Dunno.
I’ll not be a spoiler and give details of the dreams, but suffice it to say that by hour’s end, someone has produced a gun. And we hear gun shots.
In Episode 2 ‘The Princess & the Dervish’ we discover who’s been shot. Though not by the gun toter. And not seriously. Here, the serious dream surfing goes to Kendra (Lindsay Haynes), ex-Marine by way of desertion, who has picked up some excellent Farsi along the way. She’s tough on the outside, but her dreams are full of sensuality and opulence as Waleed tells her the tale of the Sultan and the Traveler.
More, and there is much more I will not reveal , but by episode end, Chase is getting ripe, and Jon has disappeared.
Actors Tony Bullock, Rex Daugherty, Lindsay Hanes, Casie Platt, and Grady Weatherford are doing excellent, convincing work with Shane Wallis a standout among the rest of the ensemble.
As all dreamers know, dreams aren’t static. These flash by, melt and merge into one another thanks to the creative team: Colin Hovde contributes great casting and brisk pacing; set designer Hannah J. Crowell designed a series of panels strung with what look like dried rice noodles (but aren’t) guided by quick footed stage hands, which quickly sluice through the front stage forming different slices of space; and the eerie quality to the dream and waking states are made vivid by the lighting and sound designs (John Burkland and Christopher Baine respectively).
If you ever play poker with Rorschach, count on them to raise the stakes. They started the season in their Casa del Pueblo digs, left the church and found the swell Davis Center on the Georgetown campus, which meant packing their final three shows into a summertime schedule, but which gave them air conditioning and the big time feel of having three shows running at once.
This Storm Is What We Call Progress is pure Rorschach. When all of DC is getting jiggy with the Fringe, Rorschach trips out on Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth. And they close with the 4 episode Dream Sailors, added to the schedule when it was purely in Baker’s dream state. Now they’re betting there are audiences willing to come back each week to see what’s next. Each episode is given 5 performances in weeks 1 through 4. If you miss an episode, you can catch up with a ‘Previously shown’ video playing in the lobby. The final week you can see either 2 episodes at a time, starting on Tuesday, or come for the marathon showing, Aug 16 & 17.
As the Oneironauts say, “You have to let it all go. Free your mind of fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind.” To which Rorschach adds: trust the hand you’re dealt and keep upping the ante.
- Running Time: Single episodes are 1 hour with no intermission
- Episode 1: Sat, July 26 at 7 pm
- Episode 2: Thurs thru Sat, July 24, 25, and 26 at 8:30, Sun, July 27 at 3:30, and Sat, Aug 2 at 7
- Episode 3: Thurs thru Sat, July 31, Aug 1 and 2 at 8:30, Sun, Aug 3 at 3:30
- Episode 4: Thurs thru Sat, Aug 7, 8 and 9 at 8:30, Sun, Aug 10 at 3:30
- Final Week:
- Tues, Aug 12: Episode 1 at 7:30, Episode 2 at 8:30
- Wed, Aug 13: Episode 3 at 7:30, Episode 4 at 8:30
- Thurs, Aug 14: Episode 1 at 7:30, Episode 2 at 8:30
- Fri, Aug 15: Episode 3 at 7:30, Episode 4 at 8:30
- Sat, Aug 16: Marathon: Episodes 1 thru 4. Starts at 6 pm with dinner break
- Sun, Aug 17: Marathon: Episodes 1 thru 4. Starts at 1 m with dinner break
- Where: Davis Center for the Performing arts, Georgetown University, 37th & O Streets NW, Washington, DC
- Tickets: $10 per episode: $35 for all 4 shows.
- Info: More information on the website.