Over the weekend, a delightful original piece, “Dream A Little Dream,” premiered at the Laurie Theater in Spingold Theater Center. The ambitious dance performance, conceptualized and directed by our very own Prof. Susan Dibble (THA), is a sensory feast with strong work from all parties involved. 

“Dream A Little Dream” is ethereal. Dance numbers do not simply begin and end; they weave in and out of each other, forming a story full of life. The tale told is that of two “Dreamers, “played by Hannah McGowan ’18 and Christian Ford Harrington ’21, whose late-night imaginings are overseen by a “Dream Caster” (Rachael Schindler ’18) and the mysterious “Window Frame Man” (Casper L’Esperance-Kerckhoff ’18). Over the course of the 51-minute show, we are whisked into the worlds of their dreams, accompanied by music featuring vocal talents that range from Julie Andrews to Adele, and even the aria Casta Diva from “Norma.” 

The very nature of this play allows it to thrive where other stage performances are granted less leeway. The fact that it is supposed to be a dream creates boundless possibilities within the world of the story. Therefore, as would only make sense in fiction, a lovely scene of McGowan’s “Dreamer” fawning and prancing to “I Could Have Danced All Night” can seamlessly flow into a much darker scene featuring the ensemble cocooning their bodies in paper bags around a campfire. In most productions, a tonal transition of this sort would be jarring and inexplicable, but the rules of the world that Dibble has dreamt up for her “Little Dream” compel you to sit back and marvel at the sight. It is enchanting.

The staging for this production, designed by lecturer in Theater Arts Jeff Adelberg, could not have been more well suited. The lofted bedrooms of the “Dreamers” bookended the space where the dreams played out. A beautiful wall of flickering lights served as an appropriate background. Adelberg’s lighting design brought out the features of his captivating set, while also filling in missing details. His work provoked the imagination, as he creatively used light to evoke imagery of campfires and even flight. Combined with Steve Deptula’s attentive sound design, these components made for an immersive experience. Further adding to the ambience was Chelsea Kerl’s dashing costume design.

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SLEEPWALKING: A performer dons a floral crown, matching perfectly with the set.

In reviewing a dance performance, one would be remiss to overlook the dancers. In short, they were all in fine form, bringing the story of “Dream a Little Dream” roaring to life. This is a true ensemble piece —  each and every person on stage made their own presence known while also supporting the work of their fellow performers. Dibble’s deliberate choreography, much of which brought the entire cast onto the small stage of the Laurie, never once was too busy, miraculously crowding up a space while also creating room to breathe. And while the pieces showcasing the whole cast were wonderful, two soulful solo dances stood out: those of Rachael Schindler ’19 and the final solo performed by Dibble. They were transportive, and so effective in accomplishing Dibble’s goal: to portray the “surprise and wonder in dreams.”