SWEET DREAMS, ALFIE is a lot of things. It’s a delightful mix of scary, sweet, silly, and surreal. It’s filled with beautiful moments of levity sprinkled among dark dreams of existential dread. It’s a confusing blend of fiction and reality.
Definitely for Alfie. Especially for me. Maybe for you, too?
As some of you may know, I live with a swirling mix of depression and anxiety. Sometimes it's actually a beautiful thing that allows me to be a thoughtful, meticulous empath; sometimes it just plays games with my head and makes life really difficult and overwhelming. It’s been a huge part of my life journey so far, but especially for the past couple years as I’ve really begun to dig in, embrace, and talk about it. I've found that talking about the dark storms in my head helps me process, and often allows me to connect with the so, so, so many others that are also on their own tricky mind journeys.
When we first started working on the original production of SWEET DREAMS, ALFIE—a new psychological horror play with strong themes of depression, anxiety, and existential dread—I was actually pretty nervous.
I wasn’t at all nervous for the quality (since we had such a fantastic team with Laura Leffler-McCabe, Russ Dugger, Amber Bjork, Mark Sweeney, Allison Witham, Megan Clark, Spencer Witter, Adam Raine, and Jessica Spivey)... or really that it was a “horror play” (even though I’m a huge scaredy-cat and horror is not my go-to genre). I was nervous if I would be able to handle it. What would happen if I let myself become immersed in a theatrical world that had so much to do with my “demons”? (Side note: I no longer call them my “demons”... now they are more like my “complicated friends who sometimes come over for dinner uninvited.”)
As I sat in to watch a dress rehearsal for that original production in October 2015, I had all the feelings. Yes, it was scary (like a horror movie). Yes, it was full of fascinating movement (my jam) and witty dialogue and dark poetry (also my jam). Yes, it was weird and experimental and totally not realism, but it also felt so real.
It looked like what it felt like to be inside my head during a really low point or an anxiety attack... or, you know, sometimes just on a Wednesday. And that felt surprisingly validating.
Depression and anxiety can be scary—scarier than the scariest of scary movies sometimes—but sometimes making art about/around/with it help us feel less like it’s the monster under our beds. At least for me, SWEET DREAMS, ALFIE helps me use fiction, movement, and weirdness to explore the dark corners of my mind with the support of my collaborators and my community.
Because together is better.
I spoke with so many audience members during that original run who had a similar experience. Sure, many people also just loved the scary factor or the humor or the inherent dread in a buzzing alarm clock that just won’t stop... but some, like me, felt like it was personally important, difficult, and so, so familiar. I think one of the great things about this show is that you can come away with a completely different experience from the person next to you. That's beautiful. Let's talk about it.
Savage Umbrella is so honored to reimagine this complicated creature for the 2016 Twin Cities Horror Festival and the Southern Theater’s haunting stage. I can’t wait to see this talented team (some from the original, some newcomers!) once again bring the scariest corners of my mind to life.
as part of the Twin Cities Horror Festival
at the Southern Theater
Monday, October 31, 2016 at 8:30PM
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 7:00PM
Friday, November 4, 2016 at 8:30PM
Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 2:30PM
Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 1:00PM
Featuring: Russ Dugger, Claire Morrison, Mark Sweeney, Megan Clark
Created with Savage Umbrella and the ensembles
Conceived by Russ Dugger
Directed by Laura Leffler-McCabe
Stage Manager / Assistant Director: Meghan Gunderson
Effects Designer: Megan Clark
Production Manager: Hannah K. Holman
Set Construction: Meagan Kedrowski
Single tickets and multi-show passes available now at www.tchorrorfestival.com
SWEET DREAMS, ALFIE deals with depression and anxiety. Many of us in Savage Umbrella do, too. If you (or someone you care about) live(s) with feelings of anxiety or depression, we want you to know there are resources right here in the Twin Cities that can help.