Strange, Thought-Provoking, Powerful: ‘A Dozen Dreams’ At Brookfield Place
For one more week, Brookfield Place is the site of En Garde Arts’ ”A Dozen Dreams,” an interactive theatrical experience that invites viewers through the “dream” spaces of a dozen New York-based women playwrights. The show begins in the Winter Garden, where you are handed an iPhone and headphones and beckoned into a tiny structure and presented a wondrous world of fragmented, twisting corridors of the mind.
Through audio cues, the headset guides you and up to one partner through each timed experience, a tantalizing combination of music, narration, set design and effects (both practical and computer generated, sometimes both). Some dreams are undoubtedly nightmares — dark, haunted rooms draped in string, a headless mannequin, coughs reverberating through walls — while others evoke curiosity and wistfulness.
In one oceanic, sparse blue room the sound of waves accompanies an otherworldly recitation. Other rooms feature direct calls to the moment, engaging viewers with their political and cultural climate. You can take a seat on a colorful block in a dream toward the end, a room that feels like the inside of a rainbow, and contemplate, with a narrator, the future as affected by Covid. “I liked the way we became more informal,” the narrator says, speaking of video calls during the pandemic. Throughout the show, “dream” is expanded into more than a dozen interpretations.
This variety, and the specific engagements with the pandemic through these many miniature worlds, makes the experience feel special and resonant to this time and place.
“A Dozen Dreams” is co-conceived and created by Anne Hamburger with John Clinton Eisner and Irina Kruzhilina, and is presented by Arts Brookfield for Brookfield Place New York through May 30.
photo: En Garde Arts