Play Review: A Dream Like a Dream

January 19, 2016 in review, unit1

‘A Dream Like a Dream’ is a drama production written and directed
by Stan Lai ( director and playwright) ,and produced by Magnificent
Culture, a performance workshop in Taiwan.

Different from traditional experience of theatre, in this play, you will
experience a time travel in different spaces, based on someone’s
life, and you might not recognise which one is dream and which
one is real. The concept of the story came from the life philosophy
of Zen which is related to my research area, the timelessness
concept. there is a big challenge to visualise such a abstract
concept in theatre, however, it did achieve both artistic and
academic height. Thus, not only did the production provide me the
developed thoughts of timeless concept, but also provide me the
practical approaches.

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It is the first time for me to see a drama production in such a
massive, complicated plot structure and stage structure. This
experience stimulates me to think about the wide possibility and
potential in stage. Especially, how to impact audience feeling about
time and space through transaction design. This play, which places
the audience in the center of the action, with scenes unfolding all
around. It is like watching 4 stages surrounding you at the same
time. The other interesting thing is the seat could revolve in 360°
that means audience could change the view to adapt the
performance. Theatre design, in some extent, is not only about
creation, but practical solution to meet the need of the story.

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As i mentioned before, the play also successful in showing the idea
of Zen. However, some said, ‘Such richness is rare except in a
work of great scope and depth … that may baffle many an ordinary
viewer’ commends by China Daily (April 13, 2013). I still
appreciated the ambition of the director that challenge such a
theme of depth in theatre. In the culture of Zen, there is
reincarnation in life like a circle. There will be a new life after the
present life. You might not have the memory of past live except you
have a strong wish. The memory will be presented as dream in your
present life that you might not perceive whether is real or dream. As
the opening of the play, ‘In a story, someone had a dream; in that
dream, someone told a story.’ the concept is remind me the film
‘inception’, but more than that, ‘ A Dream Like a Dream’, is a
complex web of extraordinary people transmigrating among
past ,present, and dream. It offers the audience a chance to feel
and wonder in others spiritual space on live .‘the work is so dense
in texture, so exalted in wisdom, it demands absolute
surrender.(China Daily , April 13, 2013)’.

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Thus, as a audience, you will immerse in both the content

of the story and space of the theatre, and leave a lasting

impact in this production.

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