Produced by a new Halifax-based company Transitus, How Often Do I Dream is an intimate, touching performance about memory loss. Performed by Katie Dorian as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, this multi-sensory session at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room gives us stories about Dorian’s grandfather’s dementia, and it also includes singing, tasting, smelling and touching–by the audience.
Like a new friend, Dorian personally welcomes us into her space, and she takes mental note of all our names. She leads us into her “memory museum” where we are invited to taste jello, touch fur and look at old photos. If we are reminded of something in the past, we are told to write down the time, place and circumstance. Theatre couldn’t get more hands-on! I only wish her nostalgia-themed tables were spread out more to give us more room to move around.
How Often Do I Dream is not your typical linear play that has a beginning, middle and end. Instead it is a series of interesting sections which are bound together by stories about Dorian’s gradfather. These episodes include juggling, humming of a Paul Simon song (that we sung quite well), and practising our names.
One of Dorian’s most powerful pieces was the evolution of a certain memory: several times throughout the play, she recounts the memory of a romantic encounter involving dancing, receiving flowers and holding hands. Each time she re-lives this memory, the story gets fewer details, and the some of the facts even change. I think this was a good manifestation of how our memories are unstable, and how, as we age, we will eventually hang onto fragments of what once was a solid story. In contrast, we saw how young Dorian got better and better at reciting our names!
To me, How Often Do I Dream feels like sitting down with an old friend who is sharing her thoughts and memories. I liked it. It’s intimate, it feels warm and fuzzy, and it’s the opposite of mindless entertainment. If you’re interested in how memory functions, and you’re cool with audience participation, then this play is for you.
- How Often Do I Dream is playing until July 11 at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room (30 Bridgman Avenue)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 04 at 06:45 PM
July 05 at 02:45 PM
July 07 at 03:15 PM
July 08 at 10:00 PM
July 10 at 03:30 PM
July 11 at 08:00 PM