“Your imagination can pierce reality,” says Hindu God Lord Krishna to nine-year-old Meena in the world premiere of Meena’s Dream at Forum Theatre. I left one-part inspired and one-part devastated – inspired by the music, message, and unparalleled talent of writer and performer Anu Yadav, and devastated because productions like this are too rare.
The story: Meena’s mother, who is ill and struggling to pay for medicine, housing, and electricity, tells Meena stories of Lord Krishna and the “Worry Machine” to distract her from their descent into poverty. Meena’s response is painfully accurate – if medicine and food are being thrown away, why should anyone have to go without? Meena’s Dream follows Meena (and a variety of characters) as she battles her internal and external demons.
Director Patrick Crowley ties the pieces of Yadav’s vision together elegantly. Sarah Tundermann’s brilliant lighting illuminates John Bowhers’s eye-catching set.
Anu Yadav plays about a dozen characters in 90 minutes with impeccable dramatic and comedic timing. Her monologues set to music are stirring and thought provoking – her nightmare sequences are like childhood memories of awakening in a sweat. Yadav performs with a dance-like grace – Meena’s Dream (and Meena herself) are hard to categorize.
Closes January 18, 2013
Forum Theatre at
Round House Theatre – Silver Spring
8641 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD.
1 hour, 30 minutes
Tickets: Pay What You Want,
or $20 reserved seats
The musical score is written and performed by Anjna Swaminathan, Rajna Swaminathan, and Sam McCormmally. Stretching the imagination and transcending genre, their score intimately blends indie-folk, rock, and classical music. “This is my dream. I can do anything I want.” Much of the magic in Meena’s Dream comes from seeing a close-knit group of artists perform their original work.
In a world where the arts are tossed aside as irrelevant, Meena’s Dream poses obvious answers to difficult questions – why can’t we all have enough? Why can’t we all be enough? The answer: We can. We are.
The arts shed light on these obvious answers in a way that no other medium can. The crew at Forum Theatre isn’t just entertaining – they’re using words, images, and music to dismantle our perception of the way things “ought” to be. We are not hopeless. We are not irrelevant. We are not stuck. Change is slow, but coming.
Meena’s Dream . Written and performed by Anu Yadav . Directed by Patrick Crowley . Music director/composer/dramaturg: Anjna Swaminathan . Musician/composers: Rajna Swaminathan, Sam McCormally . Produced by Forum Theatre . Reviewed by Rebecca Evans.