Shakespeare & Company Presents "The Dreamer Examines his Pillow" August 7-September 6

Posted July 27, 2009

Shakespeare & Company presents
john patrick shanley’s breakthough work
the dreamer examines his pillow
august 7—september 6
only 14 performances!

“I am not a courageous person by nature. I have simply discovered that, at certain key moments in this life, you must find courage in yourself, in order to move forward and live.”

—John Patrick Shanley

{Lenox, Mass.}—Shakespeare & Company continues its ‘Life Laid Bare’ series of provocative modern works at the new Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre this summer with John Patrick Shanley’s breakthrough work The Dreamer Examines His Pillow. This moving three-hander is a feast of language penned by one of the masters of contemporary theatre and film; it is by turns funny, meditative and thought-provoking. The Dreamer Examines His Pillow features John Douglas Thompson, who this summer also delivers a remarkable, much-celebrated performance in the title role of Othello, alongside two gifted S&Co. newcomers: Miriam Hyman and Bowman Wright. Longtime S&Co. favorite Tod Randolph makes her directorial debut. The Dreamer Examines His Pillow plays in a limited run of 14 performances at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, August 7—September 6.

The Bernstein is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Performances in the evenings run at 8:30 p.m. and in the afternoons at 3:00 p.m. Tickets range from $12 to $48. For a complete listing of productions and schedules, to inquire about the 40% Berkshire Resident Discount, Youth Rush tickets, or other discounts, or to receive a brochure, please call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353 or visit For custom-designed group visits including options for artist talkbacks and catered events, contact Group Sales Manager Victoria Vining at (413) 637-1199 ext. 132.

The Dreamer Examines His Pillow is joined in S&Co.’s ‘Life Laid Bare’ series of cutting edge plays of social and political significance by the American premiere of Donald Freed’s Devil’s Advocate (July 30—August 16) and J. T. Rogers’ White People (August 21—September 4). Director Randolph leads a Tuesday Talk devoted to The Dreamer Examines His Pillow at S&Co.’s Production and Performing Arts Center (Studio 3) on August 11 at 5pm; tickets are $6 each.

Playwright John Patrick Shanley’s work for stage, screen and television is highly celebrated—he won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the film Moonstruck, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play (among several other awards) for his 2005 play Doubt: A Parable. He has also been nominated for an Emmy, and his adaptation of his play for the motion picture Doubt was nominated this year for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In this early work, first produced in 1986, Shanley depicts the confrontation between a father, his daughter, and her ex-boyfriend that opens up complex, ancient questions about women and men, sex and truth, art and love—and forever alters the course of their lives.

This funny, thoughtful journey through the maze of love, family, sex, commitment, and the Einsteinian Universe, shines the light of Shanley's exquisitely raucous language into every dark corner. Lost and confused, a young man named Tommy tries to get hold of himself and find his footing in the world. When his ex-girlfriend Donna visits in his Lower Broadway basement apartment to confront him, she begins to realize that she, too, might be at the mercy of forces she doesn't understand. She seeks out her estranged father for information; he is a painter who lost his wife years ago and has been unable to work ever since. The startling truths that emerge from their conversation surprise them both, and lead to unexpected consequences for all involved.

Director Randolph is a member of S&Co.’s Training Program faculty, and was last seen onstage here in the truly winning blockbuster Enchanted April in 2006. She says she first saw part of The Dreamer Examines His Pillow while training at Julliard 23 years ago, and has wanted to direct it ever since.

“I believe that great theatre exists inside the relationships between actors, within the dance of energies between the human beings living on the stage, and nowhere else,” Randolph says.


Tod Randolph* thirteenth season (director of The Dreamer Examines His Pillow; STI Faculty) S&Co: Enchanted April (Rose); Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania); Vita & Virginia (Virginia); Love’s Labor’s Lost (Princess of France); A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf); Merchant of Venice (Portia); The Fiery Rain (Edith Wharton); Othello (Desdemona); Mrs. Klein (Melitta); Winter’s Tale (Hermione); Virginia (Virginia); Duet for One (Stephanie); Julius Caesar (Portia/Calpurnia); Twelfth Night (Viola); MacBeth (Lady MacBeth); Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice). New York & Regional: The Libertine (Theatre Row Theatre); Cymbeline (Holderness Group); Beauty Queen of Leenane (Syracuse Stage); New England (Milwaukee Rep); Othello (Portland Stage); The Winter’s Tale (Trinity Rep); Emily and in light of Jane (Mixed Company). This production of Dreamer marks Tod’s directorial debut.

John Douglas Thompson* fifth season (title role in Othello, Dad in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow) S&Co: Othello, All’s Well That Ends Well, King Lear. Broadway/International: Le Bret in Cyrano De Bergerac with Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner, Julius Ceasar with Denzel Washington. Hotspur in Henry IV (Royal Shakespeare Company). Off-Broadway: Othello in Othello (Theatre for a New Audience, OBIE Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Drama League nomination), Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theatre), Enobarbus in Antony and Cleopatra, Orombo in Oroonoko (Theatre For A New Audience, AUDELCO nomination), Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler (New York Theatre Workshop), Edgar in King Lear (Classical Theatre of Harlem, AUDELCO nomination), Overtime u/s (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Changeling (The Salon). Regional: Lucius Jenkins in Jesus Hopped The A Train (Wilma Theatre, Barrymore Award Winner), Hotspur in Henry IV (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Bus Stop (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Othello, Preface To An Alien Garden, Measure for Measure (Trinity Rep Company), King Lear (Yale Rep), Mother Courage, Othello, Marat/Sade, The Winter’s Tale, Antigone, Richard II, Full Circle (American Rep Theatre), Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre), Spunk (Portland Stage). Television credits include: Conviction, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU (NBC), All My Children (ABC). Film credits include: Michael Clayton, Malcolm X.

Bowman Wright* first season (Tommy in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow) is excited for the opportunity to make his debut at Shakespeare & Company. He is now at University of California at San Diego working on his Masters degree. His last performance was Danton in Danton’s Death. Other works include Fences, Since Africa, House with no Walls, Piano Lesson, As You Like It and Refraction. Regional credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Virginia Stage Company, Interact theatre, and Arden Theatre Company.

Miriam Hyman* first season (Donna in The Dreamer Examines His Pillow) Most recently appeared in What You Will/Twelfth Night as Olivia at Bristol Riverside Theatre. She’s also worked with People’s Light and Theatre Co. in which she has been in The Persians (Herald), I Have Before Me A Remarkable Document Given To Me by a Young Lady From Rwanda, (Juliette), Twelfth Night (Viola) & Man From Nebraska, (Tamyra) 2006 Barrymore nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Other regional credits include, The Big Friendly Giant (Arden Theatre Co.), Merchant of Venice (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival), Romeo and Juliet and Taming of the Shrew (PSF Linny Fowler Tours), The Story (Philadelphia Theatre Co.), Skin of Our Teeth, (Bristol Riverside Theatre), Resurrection Blues (The Wilma), An Artist Workshop (Azuka Theatre Collective), Black Nativity (New Freedom Rep. Theatre) and Black Girl (First World Theatre Ensemble). Miriam has received 2009 and 2007 nominations for the F. Otto Haas award for an Emerging Artist. Miriam is a proud member of AEA and SAG. This fall she will attend Yale Drama School to train for her MFA in acting. Thanks to Toddy, Tina and Dennis.

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.

At A Glance

Production: The Dreamer Examines His Pillow
Theatre: Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre
Written by: John Patrick Shanley
Director: Tod Randolph
set designer: Christian Schmitt
Lighting designer: Greg Solomon
Sound Designer: Michael Pfeiffer
Costume Designer: Lena Sands
Cast: Miriam Hyman, John Douglas Thompson and Bowman Wright

Dates: Tuesday through Sunday, in repertory
Preview: August 7
Opens: August 8
Closes: September 6
tickets: $12—$30 for August 7; $16—$48 thereafter
Phone: (413) 637-3353

Additional event:
Tuesday Talk with Tod Randolph
August 11 at 5pm
Shakespeare & Company (Production and Performing Arts Center, Studio 3)
Tickets $6 each

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