BWW Reviews: When Dreaming DIFFERENT DREAMS
"I don't like following rules unless they're mine". It is such a line that should resonate with audiences from the newest show that was written for and produced by Encore! Studio for the Performing Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. Why should it remain with those who are given the privilege, as I was, to view an original production? The answer is simple; Encore is a unique theatre in both its home state as well as in the country at large. It is a theatre for individuals for disabilities. A mission that is far removed from the tendencies of the unfairness of theatre. Encore! finds in its actors the passion for performing which makes the play about talent and love of the art. This fourteen-year-old company of performers has disregarded any dismissal of dreams and created something truly beautiful.
For those who believe the strongest and most worthwhile pieces of theatre are built on truth would truly appreciate "Different Dreams". Written by KelsyAnne Schoenhaar, the resident Artistic Director and Executive Director, the show is performed with the deepest levels of honesty I have personally ever seen. Encore's acting troupe has, no doubt, overcome many obstacles in their lifetimes, because of this, those who are able to see the show are left humbled and in awe of the astounding work that was put into the series of vignettes. The seven separate vignettes focus on the struggles associated with being different while still holding onto the dreams that each character harbors. Although there are naysayers among the characters, as there are in life, each individual is able to work past the negativity and hold onto hope.
"Different Dreams" could teach the public so much about being sensitive to the dreams and aspirations of others. From the concept of insisting too much that anything is possible, to the unfair assumption that some cannot achieve what they set out to do. One of the vignettes is all about a support group focused on finding happiness regardless of what life has handed to the individuals involved.
A window into the lives of those who dream different dreams, Encore! has a lot to offer. As the only professional theatre company for those with disabilities in Wisconsin, and one of the only performance groups of its nature in the United States, they are tasked with granting many dreams. Unfortunately, Encore! is a non-profit organization and has to relay on the generosity of patrons. After last night's performance, it is now clear that Encore! deserves as much praise and patronage as theatre lovers can possibly provide.
Opening night of "Different Dreams" may have been my first encounter with Encore!, but I sincerely hope it is not my last. There are five more performances this week and the following week before audiences have to wait until September for a new show. If you're in the Madison area, it is a worthwhile night out. If you aren't fortunate enough to see it, find the company on Facebook or look them up on their website encorestudio.org.
If you are interested in promoting the work of Encore! or becoming a beneficiary, contact the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together as a theatrical community, we could aspire to show the world "handicap, it's a weird word." And make theatre a more accessible art for everyone who shares its passions.