By Tony Fiorentino
Directed by Braden LuBell
Produced by Diamente Productions
At the Athenaeum Theatre
The effects of lucid dreams are explored in Tony Fiorentino’s drama
Chicago playwright Tony Fiorentino (Lease on Love, Cold Cold Feet, Fraternal Instinct, My Dinner with Amy and All My Love) has amassed a fine body of work over the last five years. His latest world premiere, Lucid, is a smart work that explores the mystery and enticement of lucid dreams as used to transform one’s unsatisfactory life.
Woman may condemn Peter (Daniel McEvilly) as a selfish narcissistic moral coward trying to escape his responsibilities yet men seem to both understand and empathize with Peter’s plight. Lucid is Peter’s story. He is a discontented artist stuck as a graphic designer for a jewelry distributor. Peter’s creative instincts beckon him to create art, to paint and to be a free spirit, to explore the world.
He is trapped in an unfulfilled relationship with Becky (Laura Shatkus) who is pregnant with their child. Bucky is overwhelmed with motherhood and the responsibilities therein. It is her entire world. Peter feels obligated yet he fears the long term traps of raising a child–both financially and emotionally. He ultimately fears being forced to stay in his mercenary job just to support his family. Peter craves freedom–freedom to create art for art’s sake-the freedom to fulfill his wildest fantasies.
When his best pal, Wally, (Jake Szczepaniak) tells him about the art of commanding lucid dreams. Peter embrasses the concept as he congers up an imagined mistress, Robin (Tracey Kaplan) who encourages both his sexual desires and his artistic juices.
Playwright Fiorentino deftly has Peter move through the lucid dream sequences with the revolving sets (by Robert Shoquist) and director Braden LuBell has McEvilly play Peter as a basically good guy torn between his artistic instincts and his real world demands. Peter escapes Becky’s world into the only world he can control–his lucid dreams. But soon his nightly trysts come to eclipse the demands of his reality. Peter’s world becomes a blur as his lucid dreams as reality collide.
The honesty of Daniel McEvilly’s performance showing both the selfish and the troubled bottles-up sides gives his character enough humanity to be credible. The exploration of a man coming to terms with real world commitments versus his creative, free-spirited instincts is dramatically presented. Fiorentino has a fresh perspective on that personal conflict. I’m sure this worthy play will spark debate (woman versus men) as to what Peter did in the play. Lucid is worth seeing. Let the debate begin.
At the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave, Chicago, IL, call 800-982-2787, tickets $20, $18 for students/seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission.