Inspired by Great Expectations, Charles Dickens’s classic novel about coming of age in a profoundly class-conscious society, That Poor Dream draws on the company’s own complex relationship to class identity and economic disparity in American society to exploring how class defines and divides us, and how our shared humanity might bring us closer together.
Set entirely on a MetroNorth train traveling from New York City to Fairfield, Connecticut (the hometown of playwright Stephen Aubrey), The Assembly’s new play attempts to unite many worlds–those divided by class, geography, time, and privilege–into a moving mosaic of what it means, and what it once meant, to have great expectations thrust upon you.
Artist Statement: We are a collective of multi-disciplinary performance artists committed to realizing a visceral and intelligent theater for a new generation. Assembly members unite varied interests in service of unabashedly theatrical and rigorously researched ensemble-driven performances that address and reflect the complexities of our changing world. Developing text, movement and environment side-by-side within the rehearsal room, the company embraces collaboration as the core of the creative process. Above all, we are dedicated to rooting our artists, audiences, and colleagues in a profound sense of community.
About The Assembly: Holding firm to the belief that history repeats itself, The Assembly frequently looks to the past to make sense of the present moment. The Assembly’s first project, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was created in the aftermath of September 11th and explored one of America’s forgotten tragedies: the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus fire of 1944 in Hartford, CT. We Can’t Reach You, Hartford premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was nominated for the coveted Fringe First award. Later projects have explored Civil War photography (Daguerreotype; Abingdon Theater, 2007), the entrepreneurial spirit of Charles Lindbergh (What I Took in My Hand; The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, 2008), the Gold Rush of 1849 and the dot-com boom of the 1990s (Clementine and the Cyber Ducks; The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, 2009), climate change (The Dark Heart of Meteorology; The Philly Fringe Festival, UNDER St. Marks, 2009), the concept of inaction (Chekhov’s Three Sisters; The Red Room, The Cherry Pit) and the radical politics of the Weather Underground (HOME/SICK; The Collapsable Hole, 2011; The Living Theater, 2012; New York Times and Backstage Critics’ Pick). Our current production, That Poor Dream, had a workshop performance at the 2013 Ice Factory Festival at The New Ohio.
Collaborating Artists: Featuring: Stephen Aubrey*, Edward Bauer*, Ben Beckley*, T. Ray Campbell*, Emily Perkins-Margolin*, Moti Margolin*, Ayesha Ngaujah*, Terrell Wheeler*; Directed by Jess Chayes*; Text by Stephen Aubrey and The Assembly; Scenic Design: Nick Benacerraf*; Sound Design: Asa Wember; Video Design: Ray Sun Ruey-Horng; Lighting Design: Shelly Rodriguez; Associate Director: Lisa Szolovits; Stage Manager: Marisa Blankier; Producer: Justine de Penning; Company Producer: Ariela Rotenberg; Consulting Producer: Dorit Avganim
Upcoming for That Poor Dream: Premieres in Winter/Spring 2014.