Dreams Against the State

Dreams Against the State, written by Deena Metzger, directed by Steven Kent, who also served as dramaturge. It was first performed in 1981. It played for two and half months in 40 different private and public spaces, peoples homes, in community centers, churches in lieu of a formal theatre. Thinking of the journey of poet priest Dan Berrigan, they realized that when people must go underground, they do so in other people’s homes.

In 1986 it was produced by Seven Stages Atlanta Georgia. It was performed again in 2005 at LaVerne College, LaVerne, CA. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/laamn/message/5786

Its first production was motivated by the disastrous nuclear accident at the Three Mile Island power plant, as this production speaks to the collapse of the electoral system, the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the consequent dire threats to democracy in the United States.

Dreams Against the State is set at a time when the governments activity against its citizens is so extensive and extreme that dreaming, the very essence of the individuals life and spirit, is declared illegal. Six people, inhabited by the dreams and nightmares of history, in the form of seven historic characters, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Dashiell Hammett, Rosa Luxemburg, Victor Jara, Camilo Torres, Ethel Rosenberg and Velvel a last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, find their way to a desperate sanctuary, hoping to survive through such community.

Written by Deena Metzger and directed by Steven Kent, the play, in this form, emerges from a thirty year friendship and creative, spiritual, political alliance that earlier had inspired them to recover and re-invent the Eleusinian Mysteries as they had been practiced for 1500 years until their suppression by the Christians in the fourth century CE. The Mysteries, and the descent into the underworld for rejuvenation and inspiration, become the invisible scaffolding of the play, as the characters take refuge in the underworld for their survival.

For further information about the play, contact Deena or Steven Kent, Steven Kent, skent@laverne.edu