This is Not a Pipe Dream
Octavia Biggs-Fleck, Director
For the past three years the search for the perfect show for the Little Company tour has allowed me the opportunity to read some exciting and interesting plays for young audiences. However the search comes with challenges that are multi-faceted. For finding a show that would be: interesting to high school audiences, challenging to college actors, a small cast, educational as a teaching tool in the classroom, a creative and artistic opportunity for me as a director and finally ensuring that the entire show can fit into a 15 passenger van, can be a daunting task. The funny thing; when I finish the process, of directing a show, I can never imagine doing any other show, then that particular show and that is where I am today. There is a line in This is not a Pipe Dream that says: “To find, one must look. To look, one needs to open his eyes. In opening his eyes, the world becomes visible.” I looked and found and had my eyes opened to a hilarious world of comedy! I hope that the amount of fun we have had in this process is visible. Each day as we moved closer to opening I asked myself the question; “Is this organized chaos or just plain old chaos?”
René Magritte’s paintings defy common sense. He continually asks us to consider the wonder that is our world by showing us what it is not. The last line in This is not a Pipe Dream is: “Any end I might imagine seems ridiculous to me. RIDICULOUS”. Having no knowledge of this man and barely familiar with his work I was anxious to discover more about him, especially after looking at his collection of art work and how it changed over the course of his life. I enjoy discovering (or creating) the justification of why people do what they do, and wondering what drives them to be the person they become. Once I began working on the show and familiarizing myself with Magritte and his life, I discovered he had an early life filled with sadness. His mother committed suicide after many attempts and dealing with severe depression for many years. In a time when mental health was so misunderstood, it must have been through this sadness that he discovered humor, maybe as an escape. However, when analyzing his paintings used throughout the show, I quickly learned that through his irrational juxtapositions and combinations he shared his sadness and the story of his life. Mr. Kornhauser has cleverly intertwined word play throughout the play and captured the essence of Magritte’s artwork by using the language of the play to that of paint on a canvas. It is for sure Magic Realism at its’ best!
I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you my favorite image in the production. I have two: Beautiful World and The Art of Conversation. In a Beautiful World it reminds me of a theatre world where what you see onstage is not what it appears to be. Theatre is full of trickery and to me so is this painting. As for The Art of Conversation; REVE means DREAM. I love to dream, I love to encourage others to dream. Stones last, for the most part, forever and I like conversing with others about dreaming, forever dreaming. So, in the “organized chaos of life,” I leave you with this last thought: You must be seized by life, for we will never know the “why” of the world because life is a mystery! I encourage you to think, to wonder and most of all; DREAM! Wake up and Dream!