That Poor Dream OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Nick Benacerraf
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • VILLAGE VOICE

Opening Night:
October 6, 2014
Closing:
October 26, 2014

Theater: New Ohio Theatre / 154 Christopher St, New York, New York, 10014

Synopsis: 

A moving mosaic of what it means to be endowed with "Great Expectations", That Poor Dream is set on a train traveling from New York City to Fairfield, CT, uniting worlds divided by geography, privilege, and time. Inspired by Charles Dickens’s classic novel about coming of age in a profoundly class-conscious society, the work draws on the company’s own complex relationship to class identity and economic disparity in American society, The Assembly's newest creation explores how class defines and divides us, and how our shared humanity might bring us closer together.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF That Poor Dream

    On the Train to Fairfield, Revelations
    'That Poor Dream,' an Update of 'Great Expectations'

    Alexis Soloski

    October 9, 2014: Metro-North operates the Hudson line, the Harlem line, the New Haven line. But the Assembly’s That Poor Dream, an expressive, uneven update of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, is set on twistier rails; call it the flashback line. Pip (Edward Bauer), a college senior, is chugging back toward Miss Havisham’s Connecticut manse when he meets Magwitch (Terrell Wheeler), the felon who has anonymously backed Pip’s hefty trust fund. As the train clatters on, Pip journeys into the past, with scenes recollecting Magwitch’s hidden influence. “It was me,” Magwitch explains. “I lived rough so that you could live smooth.” How people make a living, roughly or smoothly, and what they make of themselves are the questions animating this nicely modern adaptation. (These aren’t exactly Dickens’s questions, but that matters little.) Created by the ensemble and directed by Jess Chayes, the piece plays out in a single train car. It uses Dickens’s story to explore the freedoms and burdens that money bestows, particularly in a time of profound economic disparity.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF That Poor Dream

    The Assembly presents a devised work that melds American class issues with themes from Dickens's Great Expectations

    Adam Feldman

    October 9, 2014: Charles Dickens's Great Expectations is the primary inspiration for That Poor Dream, but the play is probably best approached with more realistic hopes. Set on a train from New York to Connecticut, with multiple flashbacks to flesh out the plot, the Assembly’s collectively devised work imports Pip (Edward Bauer) to the age when a “gentleman” has an Ivy League degree, a joylessly dandyish fashion sense and perhaps a decent table at Per Se. This is a Pip of the 1 percent, peevish and ungrateful; when he meets Magwitch (Terrell Wheeler), the escaped criminal who has been his secret benefactor since he was an impoverished child, he can barely disguise his contempt. Neither, unfortunately, can the Assembly contain its distate for him. Pip’s spoiled, prickly unpleasantness may well represent a deliberate effort not to let him (and his class) off the hook, but it also keeps the audience from being hooked into his story.

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  • VILLAGE VOICE REVIEW OF That Poor Dream

    Never the Train: That Poor Dream Goes Off the Rails

    Tom Sellar

    October 8, 2014: Metro-North's commuter line from Grand Central to New Haven passes through some of the wealthiest suburbs and poorest cities in America. That Poor Dream, a "reimagining" of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations by the Assembly Theater Project, takes place aboard an old-fashioned railroad car making this journey. Pip — Dickens's rags-to-riches protagonist — now goes to Columbia and lives in an Upper West Side penthouse. He learns the truth about his anonymous benefactor en route to the leafy suburban dwelling of his hard-hearted love, Estella. (Actors' roles are not specified in the program.) Video shows the locomotive's progress, with towns and stations passing by.

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