A rehearsal shot from A Dream Play, directed by Simona Giurgea

Rehearsal shot from A Dream Play, directed by Simona Giurgea and produced by English 259: Performance 1 students

How do we interpret and express our dreams? Twelve theater majors have set out to answer this question, among others, with the spring University Theater production of A Dream Play.

It will be performed in Brehmer Theater, Dana Arts Center tonight and will run through the weekend.

“It’s a very emotional, completely different play that is beautiful to see at work,” said director Simona Giurgea, senior lecturer of English in the University Theater. “It requires a lot of tenderness and giving of the self on the part of the students, who are becoming vulnerable, in touch with each other, and responsible for each other.”

Written by August Strindberg in 1901, the avant-garde play ambitiously aims to capture the more vivid, intense, and meaningful way things happen in dreams.

rehearsal imageStudents in Giurgea’s English 259: Performance 1 class have been involved in every aspect of the production — from the acting and singing, to short video supplements, to the complex sound and lighting design.

“This has been an excellent chance for me to delve into the nuances of studying a part and really getting to know the world of a play,” reflected theater major Ben Mandell ’14, who is playing “the lawyer.”

Other characters include the poet, the daughter Agnes, the gatekeeper, and the officer. The movements are performed with high intensity and demand swift changes, to replicate the nature of dreams.

“Giurgea provides a crucial dynamism that gives the play heart and soul, and passes that onto her actors while she works with them. I have learned a great deal about myself as an actor and as a person from working with her,” Mandell said.

The university commissioned Paul Walsh, professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at the Yale School of Drama, to translate Strindberg’s play for Giurgea. Walsh came to discuss his work as part of the Arts and Humanities colloquium series on March 11.

“Rarely do people understand how much knowledge one needs to have about an author in order to translate a play,” stressed Giurgea. “Paul Walsh is one of the most sophisticated, refined, and cultivated people in theater I’ve encountered.”

A Dream Play will be performed tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. in Brehmer.