Duncan Pflaster’s “Sweeter Dreams” is billed as “a play about movies.” However, after sitting through 90 minutes of bologna film trailers and a makeshift critic program that serves as mere plot device, you’ll consider it more of “a bad play…about bad movies.”
It’s not that the actors don’t get the job done; they do, in one way or another. But with the often-tedious transitions and filler trailers, the heart of the drama is ultimately lost. It gets so tiresome to watch that if it were a television show, you’d fast-forward through certain parts.
That’s not to say the story is all for naught. It can be engaging at times. The central plot revolves around indie film director Luisa (Heather Lee Rogers), her extra-martial affair with muse and budding actor, Brad (Scott Freeman) and how it impacts her relationship with her dependable and doormat of a husband Thomas (Douglas Rossi). The exchanges these three have are sometimes enjoyable and often the strongest parts of the play.
Unfortunately, we see just as much of them as we do the inane bogus film trailers and the ridiculous movie critique show that guides the play from place to place.
As a result, the play’s pace is often predictable and will induce groans.
While the actress who plays critic Roberta le Flay (Clara Barton Green) is solid and adds a witty comedic flair to a production in dire need of it, her role seems unnecessary.
Because of this, “Sweeter Dreams” is essentially a 90-minute performance that spends most of its time filibustering, instead of developing. In the end, it makes little to no sense, especially considering its cookie cutter ending. While its message of getting its audience to look closer at the roles they play in their relationships is worthy of your attention, its execution is simply far too weak to accomplish its real goal- to steal our attention.
A true shame, considering the capable talent on the stage and this production could have been.
Of all the weaker productions at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, “Sweeter Dreamers” may be the weakest. It’s topic and theme isn’t the problem, but the haphazard script and direction have it toil in a bucket of mediocrity that is unable to clean the floor at the Gene Frankel theatre.
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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