David Malikoff introduces us to The Dream – a contemporary and unique local production with intertwined music, poetry and stunning visuals that will be presented at the Glasshouse this month …
Where did the idea for The Dream production originate?
It’s an idea that’s been brewing for a couple of years – that’s why there’s more on the cutting room floor than in the show. I have been deeply drawn to dreams, my own and others, since childhood.
In recent times, I wanted to examine more critically some of the dreams I’ve held dear … wanted to see if they could still stand up. I thought there might be a theatrical journey to be had through the dreams we have about life, death and love, through joy and heartache … I also wanted to continue the experimental journey I’ve had with a couple of great artists – baritone Jim Matsinos, and Emil Wolk, a world class director.
Over the past few years, I’ve worked with Jim in two recitals to raise funds to purchase two artworks by local artists Trevelyan Clay and Franc Handcock for The Regional Glasshouse Art Gallery. Emil Wolk also directed the production of Dunk.
You’ve performed solo poetry based productions in the Adelaide and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals to critical acclaim. Who else is actually involved with the production?
As mentioned previously, Jim Matsinos, who is a highly trained and accomplished baritone and Emil Wolk, an internationally regarded director and Olivier award-winning actor. Emil has knitted the pieces in this show into a theatrical whole. Miriam Lattimore is a superb accompanist, and will be playing keyboard. The first and second halves are opened by Ann Woodland and Mick Hambly, singing their own original songs; they are members of the band Ecko Beach. I do the speaking parts, and Frank Hancock’s black and white art provides stunning projected backdrops.
If you had to describe The Dream and its message in a nutshell, what would you say?
Hard to describe the show – it is unlike anything I’ve seen. At its heart, it is a collection of songs, stories and poems, humorous, moving or both, that illustrate some aspects of our dreams, but the way it’s put together makes the whole greater than the sum.
Message: it’s not a show that is designed to give a message – it can’t, because it doesn’t answer the questions it raises. The closest you might get is to say dreams are like air and water – without them, we die quickly. But to live well, we need good quality dreams, and they’re not so obvious as we sometimes think.
How big an influence did Byron’s original work by the same name have on this production?
Enormous. Byron’s The Dream is a mighty piece – an extraordinarily well told story of love in the romantic style. It was when I found the songs of Josh Grobin and Nick Cave to weave through it, that I knew we had a show. The first part is one of the best reflections on the nature and role of the dreams we experience in sleep that I have ever read; but all the time, you sense that Byron is urgently exploring these thoughts in order to try and understand the story he is about to unfold.
Apart from the Byron piece, there are a number of other poems and prose, funny and serious in nature. To merge with these pieces, Jim will perform songs from the musicals, Folk songs, Gilbert and Sullivan and a wonderful German lied, Nacht und Traume by Schubert.
How are multimedia elements used to highlight and/or add another dimension to The Dream?
We use projected art and photos to highlight aspects of the show and to keep a good flow from piece to piece. Franc Hancock is one of the region’s leading contemporary visual artists, whose work is absolutely stunning and will look spectacular on the enormous Glasshouse Studio screen. The Byron piece uses video to bookend it, which strangely makes the dream it describes more real.
The artists involved with this production are giving their time free of charge. Where will the funds raised through ticket sales go?
The production will raise funds for The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Sunrise to use in its work with the Mera Primary School in Kharakhola village in Nepal. My wife and I spent time with the kids there late last year – they are the dreamers who inspire us.
Interview by Jo Atkins.