“I took your dreams and I put them in a jar and I buried them under a tree. How did I do that?”
It Will All Make Sense in the Morning, by Erica Smith, luckily does mostly make sense on the night you see it (maybe it makes more in the morning?). This contemporary study of dreams, nightmares, and mental health from the Coil Project (Jenny Oberholtzer, Rebecca Fischler, Smith, and Erik Harrison) does an excellent job stuffing a lot of heavy material into a fringe-appropriate hour.
Fischler and Harrison play Sparrow and Alistair, two very dear old friends who go way back. Sparrow has been hounded and haunted by dangerous and vivid nightmares ever since she was a kid, and they’ve been getting progressively worse. Two years ago, Alistair trapped them in a jar and buried them, but it didn’t help and he hasn’t slept since. The nightmares might be alive. Alistair might be magic.
Sparrow also has a girlfriend, Shanda (Jenny Olberholtzer), who is alternately devoted to and frustrated by Sparrow’s troubles, and so creepy in some of the nightmare sequences you wonder if she might be in on it.
Everyone in the the cast is very good, but the loveliest and most standout moments are the scenes of interplay between Sparrow and Alistair. Directed by Patrick Miller, Harrison in particular perfectly captures the ever-so-slightly-superior-seeming and long-suffering Alistair (with a vocal cadence that reminded me fondly of Truman Capote), and it’s clear every time they’re on stage together that these are two deep, deep friends who care for each other very much.
In spite of the dark subject matter, Playwright Smith and company also manage to find some moments of humor. There are some great one-liners (“Having bad dreams? Just sleep ‘em off!”), and the dialogue is modern and snappy. However, the play is also episodic, and because of this there are just a few too many scene changes that leave the time progression unclear. There’s a bit too much going on, but the piece has plenty of great potential, and with another eye on the script and some cleaning up, I think it could do very well.
Kudos to the following designers: Projection Designer Eric Cline; Lighting Designer Colin Dieck and Sound Designer Rich Frangiamore. And don’t be deterred by the noise of the bar next door bleeding in (an unfortunate quirk of staging shows at the Fringe headquarters, and the actors commendably didn’t bat an eye at it) – it’s definitely one of the more interesting new pieces premiering this summer, from a new company with a lot of up-and-coming talent.
Running Time: 55 minutes, with no intermission.
It Will All Make Sense in the Morning is playing through July 24, 2016 at Logan Fringe Arts Space: Trinidad Theatre, -1358 Florida Avenue, NE, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.
Check other reviews and show previews on DCMetroTheaterArts’ 2016 Capital Fringe Page.
Read the preview of “It Will All Make Sense in the Morning.’