Rutgers Theater Company presents "A Dream Play" April 8 to 16, 2016

In Rutgers Theater Company’s presentation of A Dream Play, the daughter of the Hindu god Indra descends from the heavens to discover what most of us already know: that being a human is hard. A Dream Play runs from Friday, April 8, through Saturday, April 16, 2016, at the Little Theater. 

Written in 1901 by Swedish playwright August Strindberg as he was experiencing a deep midlife crisis, A Dream Play is a fantasy that expresses the torments of earthly life: loss, longing, bitterness, and regret.

The goddess wants to understand this suffering, and assumes the form of a woman, Agnes, who meets “a lot of wildly different characters,” including a lawyer, a poet, and a naval officer as she experiences “humanity, in all of its laughter and tears,” says faculty member Christopher Cartmill, who directs the play. “Strindberg really captures what binds us together as humans.”

As its title suggests, the play is an abstract take on storytelling that allows for imaginative devices like time travel and morphing characters, presented in a dreamlike series of scenes.

“It’s essentially the recording of a dream, and so it has the logic of a dream,” explains Cartmill. “It’s very wild but delicate at the same time--you experience fragments of moments and emotions, and yet there’s a thread about the joy and loss of being human.”

And, despite being written over a century ago, the play “has a freshness and modernity that is rare for pieces this old,” Cartmill says. “It still has power because Strindberg has captured something that transcends culture and time.”

 “Occasionally these writers come along and do something unexpected, creating a work that says it like no one’s said it before,” adds Cartmill. “Strindberg knows what he’s doing, and the play leaves a very strong impression.”

A Dream Play runs from Friday, April 8, through Saturday, April 16, 2016, at the Little Theater. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $12 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors, and only $10 for students with valid ID. To reserve tickets, call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 848-932-7511. The Little Theater is located at 112 Nichol Avenue, on the Douglass Campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in New Brunswick. This venue is not handicap accessible. For more information about any Mason Gross event, visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call 848-932-7511.

This event is underwritten by the Leora M. Sies Theater Fund Foundation.

Posted April 2016.