Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present August Strindberg's A Dream Play, adapted and directed by Joseph Jonah Therrien March 24 - April 3, in the Studio Theatre on the Storrs campus. For tickets and information, call 860-486-4226 or visit www.crt.uconn.edu.
CRT audiences have come to love puppet arts productions that feature all original puppet creations. August Strindberg's ground breaking experiment in surrealism A Dream Play, written in 1901, offers puppet artist Joseph Jonah Therrien fertile creative territory to stage this haunting story where Agnes, daughter of the gods, is sent down to earth to see if life is really as difficult as people make it out to be. Therrien will design and direct with all original puppets created specifically for this surreal world of gods and humans, where, as Strindberg writes in the preface, "Everything can happen, everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist."
This exciting theatrical challenge will be met through the art of puppetry, featuring a variety of styles and theatrical innovations. Director/Writer Joseph Jonah Therrien will tell the story using hand puppets, rod puppets, masks, toy theater elements, live puppeteers and dynamic lighting and set design.
Agnes is the daughter of Indra a Hindu God. She is curious about the nature of humanity. Indra decides to make her human and send her to earth to experience life as a human. Agnes meets a multitude of characters who merge together and split apart, just like in a dream. She discovers humanity is tragic and beautiful, and returns home with this new realization and an outcome she did not expect.
Director Joseph Jonah Therrien said, " In my adaptation, I have attempted to harness Strindberg's haunting images in order to reexamine what it means to be a human in a world where so much suffering exists. Using masks, rod puppets, hand puppets, toy theater elements, and a chorus of Suzuki Method trained puppeteers, the proportions of reality are exaggerated, relationships are stretched, and incongruous images are juxtaposed as the audience journeys with Agnes through a dream version of our world to unravel the mystery of human existence."
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Joseph Jonah Therrien (Director) is a third year MFA candidate at Uconn's Puppet Arts Program. He has performed, designed, taught, and directed in New York, Chicago, and throughout the Northeast. The puppets and masks that he designed for CRT's production of Galileo appeared in American Theater Magazine and were also selected to be shown at The 2011 Prague Quadrennial Competition. Joseph was also recognized as an Emerging Artist at The National Puppetry Conference at The Eugene O'Neill Theater in 2010. While at UConn, he has appeared in Icarus as the Poet Warrior, Tommy as The Pinball Wizard, and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot as Butch Honeywell. Last spring he traveled to Chicago and performed in Redmoon Theater's Spectacle Lunatique. In the fall, Joseph will be workshopping a new rock and roll musical for masks and puppets called The Witch in the Tower with Project Theater in New York.
The Design team includes: Joshua Kigner, Scenic Designer; Kwame Tucker, Lighting Designer; Matthew Peoples, Costume Designer; Steven Magro, Sound Designer; Travis Lope, Puppet Technical Director; Kaela Whitaker, Dramaturg; Jackie Cookfair, Stage Manager.
The play features David Regan as Strindberg, undergraduate acting students: Tom Foran as The Poet, Zane Roberts as Policeman/School Teacher/Chancellor, Bryan Swormstedt as The Lawyer, and Desmond Thorne as The Officer; puppet arts students Scott Cooke as Quarantine Master, Miron Gusso as Doorman, Nicole Leduc Hartigan as Puppeteer, Xing Xin Liu as Puppeteer, Seth Shaffer as Indra, Caitlin Shirts as Stage Manager, Kali Therrien as Hand Puppeteer; and theatre studies student Mandy Weiss as Agnes.
Tom Foran (The Poet) is a senior BFA actor from East Hartford. Previous credits include - CRT: A Flea in Her Ear (Victor Chandebise/Poche), Othello (Lodovico), Too Much Memory (Creon), Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party (Tom Hauser/Walter/Abe), Pericles, Prince of Tyre (Fisherman/various), The Skin of Our Teeth (Judge Moses/Defeated Candidate), A Man For All Seasons (Attendant); UConn Puppet Arts - Bandaid Boy (Doctor Q/TK Reilly/The Emcee). Tom is also the co-founder of Blunt Objects, a theatrical guerrilla punk troupe, which has toured four original puppet farces in as many states.