Dream Versus Reality in ‘DETROIT’
In the play DETROIT, by Lisa D’Amour there are many references to dreams. So as the director I looked for the opportunity to alter moments in the play that felt more like a dream. I can’t say that I’ve ever dreamt of two people’s backyards with barbeque grills, beer in the cooler, umbrellas up, but I’ve seen that scenario used in old commercials on TV trying to show off ‘The American Dream.’
Today, ‘The American Dream’ is somewhat of an illusion therefore much of the staging in the play DETROIT will feel, for audiences, like watching a dream. I didn’t alter the staging for the moments when the characters are actually speaking about dreams. I created a dream-like atmosphere during the moments when they’re speaking about what’s on the surface, when they’re disengaged from one another. The characters engage directly with one another when they’re being real and honest – intimate conversations.
Dreams are often symbolic of something and sometimes they’re literal. So the ‘dream moments’ that I’ve staged are more symbolic, and what they’re symbolic of is the decline of ‘The American Dream’ – the notion that everything is picture perfect. The rose-colored glasses have come off and what you see isn’t so pretty anymore. This is what’s happening to the characters – they’re beginning to see life without the rose-colored glasses. This is the city of Detroit (and other cities) today. Although, one could argue that Detroit is on its way towards something new and exciting, and that may very well be what’s happening to the characters as well.
The phrase ‘I remember when…’ is often the way my parents’ generation would reminisce. And the rest of that sentence went something along like: ‘I remember when we used to have picnics.’ Or, ‘I remember when we used to go to the park and play ball.’ ‘I remember when we went out to dinner after church every Sunday.’ ‘I remember when we took that trip overseas and got to ride camels.’
These are conversations of the past. The conversations of the present have flipped to another side and that’s what the play DETROIT is really all about – flipping to another side. And in the play the characters vacillate between dreams and reality. The past is only a dream. Reality is what’s in front of us. Right here. Right now.
~ anne marie cummings
(photo by raquel reis)
Posted April 26 2014 Anne Marie Cummings, Director of DETROIT, by Lisa D'Amour writes about Dream Versus Reality in Lisa D'Amour's play DETROIT
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