This week Will takes a look at Custom Made Theatre’s free reading series showcasing Dealing Dreams, a new play by Jeffrey Lo.
Transition. We all take notice of the big shifts like graduating college or getting a big job but the micro shifts (or lack of shift) in our daily lives comes to define who we will be. A work in progress, we all are. Anyone familiar with the creative process knows how integral change and refinement are to creating something of value. Custom Made Theatre is inviting you to a part of that process. Their Free Reading Series continues this month by showcasing a new work by local playwright Jeffrey Lo. Lo’s new play, Dealing Dreams, concerns itself with the myriad transitions that mark the lives of many modern mid-twenty-somethings.
These characters are smart, talented and college educated. Yet, they can’t quite shift away from the trapping nest of youth adulthood. Some cannot fly off to adult jobs, some cannot fly to adult relationships, some just cannot fly. It’s about many things: technology, adulthood, self identity (who am I without a job…who am I out of school…what’s my purpose…I was supposed to take over the world), who grows up, who needs to take steps back wards to step forwards.
The play reminds me of a thematic mash-up between Noah Baumbach’s 1995’s meandering college wit-fest Kicking and Screaming and David Fincher’s brooding, gaze into social alienation, The Social Network, (the best film of 2010, in my opinion). The former follows a group of friends who are about the leave college. They are smart, educated, and possibly terrified at the thought of life after college. They are witty enough to sharpen their tongues around campus circles but will that help post graduation? Is that a useful life skill or academic party trick? Which of them will be set adrift without class to attend? Kicking and Screaming spoke to me at a time when I was about to leave college unfinished and drift around my home town for a few years without purpose. You bet I identified with these intellectual loafers.
The Social Network is less about purpose and more about our place in the world. These characters do not loaf about parading out their witty words around for kicks. The characters in The Social Network wield their intelligence like a weapon and purposefully lash out with it to gain an upper hand, what they perceive as an upper hand at least. Though social warfare has consequences. The Kicking and Screaming crowd have a strong circle of friends with romantic possibilities but no where to go. As The Social Network fades to black our antihero has built the most far reaching and influential social site to date yet looks upon the vastness of it alone. Was it worth the cost?
Dealing Dreams lives around this playground; the youthful playground of purposeful ambitions, social fissures and ambling self-development. Like all good pieces surrounding technology, Jeffrey Lo’s new work also reminds us that these plays are not about technology; they are about how we use modern tools (social networking, online dating, genius playlists, etc) to navigate our world and how those tools affect how we define ourselves and relate to one another. Only when we look back can we see what was lost in transition.
Custom Made’s new free reading series piece will be directed by Christine Keating and will show Tuesday, Feburary 25th. For more information check the facebook event page, Free Reading Series – Jeffrey Lo’s “Dealing Dreams” http://www.facebook.com/events/253231238191609
Kicking and Screaming (1995). N.d. Photograph. IMDB.comWeb. 18 Feb 2014.
The Social Network (2010). N.d. Photograph. IMDB.comWeb. 18 Feb 2014.