Playwave Creative

REVIEW: Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Sleep, Perchance to DreamSleep, Perchance to Dream
Reviewed by Lara Franzi

Sleep, Perchance to Dream is a whirlwind through the trapped mind of sweet Ophelia and her crumbled world. Central coast artist Alexandra Travers brings us this striking performance of rhythm and insanity. She throws us a twist to Shakespeare’s Ophelia, through her unique monologue and ideals that craft this new modern-day portrayal.

It is a wild and unchained performance that seems to grow in both meaning and necessity and still provides answers for our most troubled questions as our society continues to cycle around Shakespeare’s traditional morals.

Ophelia wonders about her role against the men in her life, and the limitations associated with her gender. This provokes the idea of moral integrity and what the individual makes of itself; an important message within Shakespeare’s play that Travers reiterates by challenging Ophelia’s expectations whilst navigating relationships and her own personal growth.

I was grabbed most by the momentum of the play, as we are intricately twisted around certain ideas that subtly feed into Shakespeare’s values. We follow Ophelia’s hopeful and tediously agonising wait for Hamlet, as she is overwhelmed by her conflicting emotions. Travers' play remains close to the nature of Hamlet, yet strays far from the portrayal of Ophelia.

Travers takes her performance and production to the next level as she invades the audience’s senses through the scent of flowers and the plush touch of lavender in our fingers. These small details bring us closer into Ophelia’s world as it feeds into Travers' intention to share the embodiment of Ophelia with everyone, no matter their body shape or gender.

Sleep, Perchance to Dream

With a mix of multimedia techniques, the audience is captivated by video designer Madeline Parker’s entrancing visual blend of Ophelia’s thoughts and feelings. Sharing the stage is Nik Lyons’s refined and perfectly timed lighting design; he reflects her bleak reality and desired dream world through a cascade of colours that bounce off a cloud of fog.

Lyons’ hypnotic lighting display carries the idea of water which Travers expresses to be a crucial element in her play and Ophelia’s life. Water can keep her afloat, but can also let her sink. This easy change of current shares a concern towards the balance of mental health and relationships, which eventually become the downfall of Ophelia’s sanity.

Sleep, Perchance to Dream is a determined work that plays a spin to Ophelia’s strengths and support. Alex Travers challenges the traditional female representation and invites a more realistic and modern-day interpretation. 

23-25 January

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