SUMMIT, NJ - It all starts off in an ordinary way. Jane and Stevie are in matching warm-up suits, sipping iced tea (or water) and having easy banter about everyday life. Although Jane says Steve doesn’t talk enough.
Soon, however, they’re joined by a nervous Helen and her domineering husband, Ray. We discover there are undercurrents in this seemingly placid place. They’ve sold their houses and have come to a kind of commune, where they’re told what to eat, what not to drink (meaning no alcohol) and, apparently, what to wear. They all have matching warm-up suits.
In 100 Years at Dreamcatcher Theatre in Summit, Stacie Lents and Eli Ganias play Jane and Stevie, who have signed up for the premium package for what they think will be a transformative experience. Harriet Trangucci and John Pietrowski are their new neighbors, who qualify for the premium plus plan.
There’s a hint of George Orwell (1984) and Animal Farm in this proposed utopian society. Living another 100 years is part of the allure. Richard Dresser has written a provocative, eerie script that should keep an audience enthralled. The tension builds, along with the sound effects of birds and rumbles of thunder. You get the sense of an apocalypse descending and there are any number of unanswered questions.
Julian Gordon is Brett, the on-site attendant who comes to help newcomers take the next step into a brave new world. Some of the options are indeed frightening.
Directed by Laura Ekstrand, the plot builds in momentum as the true nature of this life changing experience settles in. They all have their doubts and fears.
Transgucci is fascinating as the timid, terrified wife, Helen. Jane is the upfront, practical one of the group, performed with a fearless concentration by Lents. She is well matched by Ganias as her mate, Stevie, who hasn’t quite made it up the corporate ladder. Pietrowski perfectly captures the bluster and control issues of a dominating husband, Ray.
There’s plenty to contemplate in this tale of endless life, mortality and, ultimately is there any advantage to living forever? Performances continue through Oct. 19. For tickets, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit dreamcatcherrep.org.
Dreamcatcher Explores Disturbing Utopia in ‘100 Years’
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