Let me sum this up for you right away: if you love a good laugh, go see The Typographer’s Dream.
Now, onto the more serious business of detailing why—witful, wisdom soaked, full of storytelling infused with snappy dialogue and emotional weight. The Typographer’s Dream explores the notion of identity tied to work and how our work does (or does not) color our world.
Three people piddle about the stage as the audience trickles in to Hub Theatre’s small space. Each fiddles with an object on one of three desks and, occasionally, stares straight at you as if they are already bored with what is about to happen: a career panel, to which you have chosen to attend.
Annalise, the Geographer (Jenna Sokolowski); Margaret, the Typographer (Katie Nigsch); and Dave, the Stenographer (Daniel Corey) then spend the next hour imparting personal impressions of their chosen fields, trying—more or less—to sell their careers as paths of opportunity.
It seems at first that the over-enthusiastic Annalise, who LOVES (!!!!!) her job and MAPS (!!!!!) will overpower the droll, but inconspicuous, Dave and the tongue-tied Margaret; they desperately try to mirror Annalise’s fervor and get a word in edgewise. Each fails hysterically.
Dave, who speaks using only the pronoun “you,” ends up detailing the intricacies of a stenography machine with as much zeal as his almost-typewriter can inspire, while Margaret’s half baked sentences finally add-up to a pithy “It’s a Goddamn Business!” confession.
This may be the most refreshing and honest (or dysfunctional) career panel ever.
Regardless of the work we choose, or falls into, there always comes a moment when we dance with what it all means or how it matters. Dream captures the sinking sensation, I imagine many people feel as the realize they grew up to be such a (Fill in the blank) ______ – non-descript or hideously boring or identity stealing or life-sucking – nothing that they have to convince themselves it all means something.
Margaret does harbor love for the purity of her work (you know, before the business of it left her bereft of joy and feeling bullied). As she expresses her belief that she bears the responsibility of giving emotional weight to written words through her typeface choices, she rambles off a poetic ode to punctuation’s importance that would make e.e. cummings proud.
Annalise eventually shares her chagrin with her work industry, which turned geography into a subset of education under “social studies” while Dave continually vacillates between loving and hating his job. His viewing of its importance is compelling.
Yet, he still asks the audience “…it doesn’t make sense to not like your job, right?”
And then, with a deft snap, the panel turns from presentation to a squabble among, what you realize, is a close-knit group of friends, who begin flashing back in time and calling each other out for infuriating idiosyncrasies born of their work.
THE TYPOGRAPHER’S DREAM
April 10 – May 3
Hub Theatre at
John Swayze Theatre
9431 Silver King Court
1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission
Fridays thru Sundays
The devolution is a cringe-worthy scream fest that has Dave, sitting deadpan but giving off exasperated, surprised side-glances, hushed repeatedly by the cat-fighting Annalise and Margaret.
The show’s success rests heavily on Sokolowski, Nigsch, and Corey, who occupy the quiet, open, minimalist stage. Each is funny and weird, honest and completely at home in their character’s skin. And they are all superb storytellers who can get us laughing at a punch line, then make it double as an emotional confession.
Adam Bock has a great ear for how people speak—from the words they chose to how their pauses, breaks in thought (and repetition of them) convey meaning. His play, under Matt Bassett’s direction, is a striking, and seemingly quiet, look at adulthood’s life-work balance conundrum. It’s not earth-shattering material, but it is authentic in a way that leaves one thinking, “Oh, ok, good. It’s not just me.”
Execution, from lighting to prop choices and the black-box venue, is flawless in setting tone and place. And, the actors’ nuanced characters are wonderfully real. Whatever your job, The Typographer’s Dream is a great beginning-, middle-, or end-of-the-work-week treat.
The Typographer’s Dream by Adam Bock . Directed by Matt Bassett . Featuring Katie Nigsch as Margaret, The Typographer; Jenna Sokolowski as Annalise, The Geographer; and Daniel Corey as Dave, The Stenographer . Elizabeth Muller (Scenic Design), Catherine Girardi (Lighting Design), Patrick Calhoun (Sound Design and Composition), Maria Vetsch (Costume Design), Suzanne Maloney (Props Design), William Pommerening (Stage Manager), Abhi Shrestha (Assistant Director), Tony Bernardo (Technical Director), Tia Shearer (Audience Design). Produced by The Hub Theatre . Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.