Talking about why you want to produce a particular piece of art can be a difficult thing. It varies by degrees, of course. Maybe you’re drawn to a particular element, like the music. Maybe you know it will be a popular choice that will bring in the most patrons. Maybe it speaks to something that’s happening in the news. Or maybe it’s something brand new. Something that clawed its way up your intestines, past your stomach and lungs and heart and up your throat until it’s peering through your lips waiting for the right moment to reveal itself, naked and raw. A barely formed welp that you hold out to a group of friends and colleagues for their thoughts and opinions, secretly hoping that they don’t point out that it has your eyes or nose. Because it has more of you in it than you want to admit. Because it scares you. That’s why I wanted to produce Alfie.
To be completely honest Sweet Dreams, Alfie didn’t start as a horror piece. It was actually going to be a love story about umwelt - a theory in biology that attempts to demonstrate that an organism that relies on a particular sense, we’ll say smell, will experience the world in a vastly different way than an organism that lives by hearing or touching. It hints that while we all inhabit the same environment, we’re experiencing vastly different worlds. I saw something beautiful in a character trying (and failing) to teach another character how it is they experience the world. And vice versa. And yet they try. Because they want to connect. They want to empathize.
But one terrifying and oddly sweet nightmare later and I was left asking: what would it be like if our dreams allowed us that glimpse into how others experience the world? Could we actually walk a mile in another person’s shoes? And would those steps we took follow us into our waking lives? Would it allow us to live with more patience and acceptance towards the people around us?
It could be about a person who dreams they’re living the lives of other people. Throughout the dream they gather wounds that remain even after they wake up. They would carry these wounds with them, invisible to everyone else, as a reminder of all the countless the lives around them. The lives they possibly took for granted at the beginning of the story. And what would this scarification do to their psyche? The idea became less sweet and more scary.
Alfie has changed a lot since we started rehearsing. It’s darker. It’s bloodier. It’s existential-er. But it’s still a story about how we try (and sometimes fail) to connect with those around us.
Sweet Dreams, Alfie opens in one week! Seating is limited so don't hesitate to grab your tickets and start your spooky October season with Savage Umbrella!