In the Wee Hours: Mister Sandman ...

Local Arts Reviews


In the Wee Hours: Mister Sandman ...

John Henry Faulk Living Theatre,

May 27

In the Wee Hours, Heloise Gold's new dance-theatre collaboration with Mike Arnold and Tim Mateer inspired me to consult my dream book, where I found English novelist Gerald Bullett's assertion that we all live a dreaming/waking double life. It's as if a swinging door was placed between two rooms or two planes of existence, and every night the waking world dissolves and the sleeping world resumes. Within the intimate space of the John Henry Faulk Living Theatre, Gold and associates explored the nooks and crannies of both rooms vignette-style, tackling dreams of being chased, of being almost naked in public, of transformation, and of flying. Blindfolded, pajama-clad sleepwalkers appeared repeatedly throughout the evening, romping and swaying to spunky music choices under Jason Amato's inspired gobos. By not limiting themselves just to dream scenarios, the three artists were able to use text to discuss such waking-nightmare issues as global warming, homelessness, and war, as well as personal dreams such as the creation of beauty, overcoming destruction, and achieving peaceful fulfillment.

One of the most visually stunning and playful vignettes began with darkness, thunder, and crackling plastic rain sounds. Tiny shafts of light cut through the fog and illuminated what looked like three human-sized foil-wrapped baked potatoes which breathed, rippled, and oozed along the floor, reflecting the brilliant light from a multitude of crinkled facets. These silver sheets turned out to be "magnetic dream blankets," which, according to the guide emerging from one of them, intensified the dream experience and served as fashionable evening wear. The vacuous looks on the performers' faces were priceless as they vamped on the catwalk, leaving the audience heaving with laughter.

Most pieces, such as Gold's transformation from bounding sprite into soaring bird, were right on the mark, unfolding and developing deliberately through a fusion of movement and text. The bird segment included incredibly realistic bird sounds emanating from the dancer. Even though a few vignettes meandered and their punch was dulled somewhat by a lack of focus, the show was thoughtful and engaging, with excellent segues. The trio seemed at ease with the material and connected to the audience, which was full. I left with a smile on my face and two thoughts ringing in my head: One, that I couldn't wait to get home and try out my own "magnetic dream blanket" to see what I might dream; and two, "Who was that creepy hat lady?"

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