The Man in Her Dreams

The Man in Her Dreams by Katherine Glover

This Is Water Theatre, Summer 2016

A Regional Premiere

Photo Credit: Jess M Photography, used with permission

Stage Manager - Dylan Flasowski
Assistant Stage Manager - Elizabeth Nelson
Scenic Designer - Kristina Miller
Costume Designer - Rayna Dexter
Properties Designer - Justin Miller

Why this show?

This is perhaps one of the hardest and most meaningful shows I have directed. A story about race, gender, sexuality, and the flaws of our justice system, I was initially drawn to it because as I read it, my heart broke. But by the time we were able to produce it (over a year later), Ferguson and all that followed had happened. Bringing it closer to home, Sandra Bland died in police custody less than an hour south of our community.

Concept

Building on many of my ideas from when I directed Cabaret, I wanted to do everything in our power (while still respecting our audience's intelligence) to prevent this from feeling like a story about "them." This time, instead of formulating a pointed visualization, I wanted to bring audiences inside of a prison itself.

After much research, we re-created the idea of a prison visitors' room, complete with all of the limitations that requires. No cell phones were allowed in the theatre. Just wallets and keys in clear plastic bags. There was a dress code, just like there is in most prison visitor's rooms across the nation.

The staging of the play was kept simple by the following question: how might a theatre troupe stage a play if they had to contend with the limitations of what they could bring inside of a prison.

Lessons Learned

This was one of our least-attended shows, and I am sure that the strict limitations of the immersive environment put many potential patrons off, since nothing like this had ever been done in our community. Those that did come however, stayed to dialogue with us almost every night during the talkbacks. Conversations were started, perspectives were shared, and it was a powerful experience.

And while we didn't sell a lot of tickets, the subject material of the show brought more attention from donors to make up the difference. This show, more than any other we produced, encapsulates for me that frustrating difference between the need for art in a community and the demand for it.