Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Dreamer Examines His Pillow

*published on 12 Aug 2015 on The EDGE

Summer theater abounds in NYC; it is a time to wander the edges and find places, companies and plays that might elude us during the year. One such offering shining brightly in TriBeCa is The Attic Theater Company’s production of “the dreamer examines his pillow,” mounted at The Flea Theater and artfully directed by Attic’s artistic director Laura Braza.

The play was written nearly 30 years ago by consummate New Yorker John Patrick Shanley. Shanley surmounted a thug-tough

Summer theater abounds in NYC; it is a time to wander the edges and find places, companies and plays that might elude us during the year. One such offering shining brightly in TriBeCa is The Attic Theater Company’s production of “the dreamer examines his pillow,” mounted at The Flea Theater and artfully directed by Attic’s artistic director Laura Braza.

The play was written nearly 30 years ago by consummate New Yorker John Patrick Shanley. Shanley surmounted a thug-tough childhood and draws upon it liberally in all his writing. He garnered accolades in film, TV, and theater winning every prize imaginable. Many know him for “Moon-Struck” and “Doubt” on Broadway and film.

“dreamer” is described as a “comedy of anguish” and The Flea is the perfect intimate space for the play’s dreamlike exploration of tragedy and exuberant connective tissue between two lovers.

Donna and Tommy grope their way through lust, love and art. Donna, played with gusto by Lauren Nicole Cipoletti, has an on again, off again relationship with Tommy, the wonderful Shane Patrick Kearns, who will be seen opposite Jacqueline Bisset in the upcoming feature film “Peter & John.”

In three scenes wrought in ramshackle rooms well-designed by Julia Noulin-Merat, we follow the couple as they fight about the meaning of life and fidelity. Tommy is also having an affair with Donna’s 16-year-old sister. These endless conversations lead Donna to return to confront her Irish father, embodied by Dennis Parlato who galvanizes the stage as a drunk in a regal-red robe.

Donna refers to him as a piece of red lint and accosts him until he finally agrees to answer her questions about her own life. This charged conversation leads her to insist that he talk to Tommy “to get him to marry me, or beat him up.”

The play alternates between the surreal; it opens with a Tommy praying to his small refrigerator, and poetic; a monologue delivered by Donna extolling the transformative nature of amazing sex is glorious. As ever, Shanley can write; his dialogue is pitch-perfect and his musings can transport audiences. Occasionally the mix of rat-a-tat-tat dialogue and long monologues can seem off-kilter, but Shanley quickly ropes us back in to the yin and yang dissection of love.

“the dreamer examines his pillow” runs through August 25 at The Flea Theater, 41 White Street in Tribeca. For information or tickets, www.theattictheaterco.com.