A surreal solo comedy starring Elizabeth Fuller as a red-nosed clown with an alter-ego problem. Trying to keep her nose intact, she calls up her six sisters, all named Elizabeth—the Developer, the Plumber, the Dreamer, the Inspector, the Gambler, the Slut—to help build a workable identity out of mirrors, fantasy, and PVC plumbing.
Written by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller
Directed by Conrad Bishop, music by Elizabeth Fuller
Full-length; 1w, multi-character; unit set.
Produced by The Independent Eye. Work-in-progress showings at Sonoma County Repertory (Sebastopol, CA); Exit Theatre’s DivaFest (San Francisco, CA); and Jump! Theatre’s Springboard Project (San Francisco, CA).
Performances at Phoenix Theatre (San Francisco, CA), premiering 11/4/06; Spreckels Performing Arts Center (Rohnert Park, CA); FoolsFury’s Fury Factory Festival (San Francisco, CA); Occidental Center for the Arts (Occidental, CA); and Arcata Playhouse (Arcata, CA). 22 performances to date.
—David Templeton, North Bay Bohemian (Santa Rosa, CA), Dec. 6, 2006
The show, co-written and directed by Fuller and her longtime collaborator and partner Conrad Bishop, is not easy theater; it is conspicuously nonlinear, nonlogical and occasionally nonsensical in keeping with the whole dream theme. It is also quietly and emotionally explosive, and frequently quite challenging, if for no other reason than for the thickness and richness of all that language, which unfolds in a warm, thick blanket of the world’s meatiest words. . . . .
While Dream House will definitely not be everyone’s cup of Red Rose, the decidedly nonmainstream show is bursting with more ideas, revelations and philosophical introspection than are usually found in 10 shows. Easily the most personal show the Independent Eye has produced in years, Dream House is also a first-rate showcase for Fuller, who plays all of her “sisters” with breathtaking physicality and grace. . . . .
For all the show’s clever stage craft and affective lighting design, and despite Fuller’s practiced ease as the primary focus of the spotlight’s attention, Dream House is primarily a poem. It’s what Allen Ginsberg might have written had he been a woman. In Dream House, Fuller finds her own mesmerizing way to howl, and builds a remarkable—and remarkably weird—world around it.
—Wm. S. Kowinski, North Coast Journal (Arcata, CA), June 14, 2007
Dream House was a challenging, entertaining and provocative 80 minutes of theatre presented by visiting artist Elizabeth Fuller at the Arcata Playhouse last weekend. In this solo piece she wrote with her partner Conrad Bishop, Fuller played seven “sisters” who are exaggerated aspects of herself. Apart from the domestic and physical comedy (complete with the locally de rigueur clown nose) it was notable for playful cascades of inventive language and skillful use of recorded and processed voice, Laurie Anderson-style. The house that the characters are building is a potent metaphor for self, or even the world. (“Ecology” means “earth household,” and when reading the next day about the onrushing crisis of e-waste, I recalled a line in this play that says there is “no place called Away,” as in “throw it Away.”)
Though after one viewing I’m not sure the various levels of metaphor or elements of structure worked as well as they could, at its heart it was courageously uncompromising as well as relevant to its audience. It was a winsome and bracing presentation that remains with you and inspires further consideration, and a terrific example of what else theatre can do beyond our usual fare. Thanks to Fuller’s ensemble, Independent Eye, and the Arcata Playhouse for bringing it to us.
Moving. Wildly entertaining. Uniquely creative. A stunning and courageous example of self-revelatory theatre.
I saw so many aspects of my own self in such a short time. Loved it!
How awesome that you have brought each voice to such focus. Your mastery is a shining light.
She/you was/were me! Every step of that process your process (my process) was so familiar.
All too familiar. Loved the “slut.” Good conquering of the “critics.” Great ending. Wanted to cry often. Got to the core.
Pulls the cobwebs out of your inner sanctum, awakens your private committee, and lets you howl at yourself in all your intimate idiocy. A bold and brilliant psychological expose, this sophisticated tragic-comedy has all the richness of a seasoned playwright enacting a world that few would admit, but lives within us all.
Close to the bone. Brave. Schizoid. Weird. Highly recommended!
Thank you for enacting my (and I suspect, many women’s) personal soul drama. I felt you were speaking directly to my own lifepath and yearning.
I can look forward to my vital 60’s. Very sexy for the mature men of the world.
It is a gem.
Just wanted to send my warm appreciation for your inspiring artistry. The raw honesty and reflection revealed in your many selves speaks to the collective psyche within us all. Thank you!!
Profound, humorous, and all so close to home. A wondrous, funny and thought-provoking piece.
I sat close enough to really watch you, Elizabeth, not just the characters you portrayed, but you, and within very few minutes, there was no distinction. Your performance was absolute in that you became your women in voice, posture, personality and psyche. Your nudity, while not the core of the play, certainly spoke to both its essence and yours. Courage. Beauty. And every conceivable level of exposure.
Witnessing a virtuosa in action.
Stunning script. And amazingly precise interplay of words and movement, music, voice-over. Truth and falsehood dancing with intensity. The audience was spellbound.
It’s the kind of theater experience that doesn’t come along often. I think the moment in Dream House that defined it for me was to see Elizabeth naked AND see her weep AND to know as it happened that she was defining art, showing me a rare example of a performance on stage being just as much art as a painting in a gallery.
Daring! A life deeply examined! Many within one. Universal individualism.
When the suicidal card-playing sister spoke from atop the ladder, I kept thinking that she was Jack Nicholson! What an amazing ability to become such different characters & a rare treat to see that transformation again and again.
I was totally blown away by Dream House. I laughed at the numerous ironies in the script and was powerfully moved by the discoveries and integration. It is a brave piece of work.
Your serial nakednesses are more richly clothed than the “richly clothed.” Thank you for baring/bearing all!
A remarkable woman with such a great smart soul.