Darren Copeland

Sound Artist

A Dream Play


A work that is considered impossible to stage in the theatre, August Strindberg’s A Dream Play is ideally suited to radio. Almost a century ago, Strindberg abandoned conventional perceptions of time and space and modeled his play after a dream. The result is an expressionistic masterpiece that is a work of pure imagination. The characters split and multiply, realities evaporate and condense, and problems disperse and reassemble again. Director Lynda Hill advises listeners to “embrace it as if you were the dreamer and enjoy the ride”.

A Dream Play was adapted for CBC Radio by sound artist Darren Copeland. He weaves the sound, music and text together into a rich score that pushes radio drama to its outer limits. The play is recorded in Surround 5.1, and mixed down to Dolby Pro Logic for broadcast. The result is “a surround sound experience or the most intense stereo you’ve every heard” according to Hill, who recommends using headphones if you are not equipped to listen in Dolby Pro Logic. Copeland says it “is similar to sitting in a movie theatre with your eyes shut.”

Alice, a poet, dreams of Agnes, a young goddess, whose destiny it is to descend to earth to experience life as a mortal. She soon discovers that happiness is impossible to achieve and “human beings are to be pitied.” Though spiritual suffering and pain may be at the centre of A Dream Play, this production has a bold irreverence that bubbles with dark humour and absurd silliness.

The cast includes Alison Sealy-Smith as the dreamer Alice, Karen Glave as the goddess Agnes, Ken Kramer as Axel, and Michael Ripley as the love-struck officer. Other players include Deann deGruijter, David Huband, and Wayne Robson. Mezzo-soprano Jean Stillwell sings the role of Victoria, with tenor Fred Love and soprano Glenda Balkin singing various roles in music composed by Wende Bartley.

A Dream Play was adapted between 1996 and 2000 by Darren Copeland and is directed by Lynda Hill and produced by James Roy. The executive producer of the MILLENNIUM DRAMAS is Gregory J. Sinclair. Duration is 100 minutes.