Thompson brings “American Dream” to Dibden


Michelle Sawyers

Dakotah Senesec and Jonathan Howard rehearse “The American Dream”

Graduating Senior Liz Thompson will be directing fellow students in a production of “The American Dream,” for her senior project, a one-act play written by three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Edward Albee.

In the preface, Albee explains, “an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, emasculation, and vacuity; it is a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen.”

Thompson chose this satire on American family life last year.

“What I really like about it is that it talks about societal issues going on and how the ‘American Dream’ is pretty imperfect and that a lot of us strive for that dream even though it’s something that might not make us happy,” said Thompson. “I just find that to be really fascinating – that people try so hard to prove themselves to other people that they have a better life because they have these aspects even though it doesn’t really make them happy because it’s what makes you look happy and successful.”

Thompson’s take will be the homey fifties setting, but will also incorporate new issues of society like our grasp of technology; how we are all glued to our phones or iPods. It will touch upon the disconnect with personal communication that goes on in today’s media-driven society.

“The American Dream” is a play about this dysfunctional family. They have all the components of what seems to be kind of a happy family, the mother, the father and grandma who lives with them.

Then they have this woman come in from an adoption service. About 20 years ago, they had an issue with this adoption service when they tried to adopt a child.

Ethan McGovern is playing the emasculated daddy. Taylor Brown has the role of the dominating mother. Jonathan Howard is playing the clever, witty Grandma. The adoption agent, Mrs. Barker is being played by Victoria Doughty, and the Young Guy is being played by Dakotah Senesac.

Stage manager is Angela Hunt and assistant stage manager is Jacob Crosslin.

Thompson chose this project sometime last year.

“I had certain people in mind, but I didn’t want to precast. I know that’s frustrating for actors, being an actor,” she said. “There were some people I had in mind, but I wanted to see their versatility and maybe if they could fit in other roles. We only had a handful of people audition. We decided on the cast list that night and put it up.”

Thompson will be getting her B.A. in Theater and an A.A in Technical Theater. Her goal after graduation is to find any theatrical job.

“I have two options for sure that I am interested in. One of them is doing an apprenticeship with Bread & Puppet Theater. Maybe, just a two week,” she said. “And then if that doesn’t work out, then I would like to apply for the Fringe Festival Internship which is a tech theater internship that is about four weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland.”

This is a huge theater festival in Scotland with different shows in all of the venues of the city. They need tech people to set up all those shows. So it would be two weeks of setting up and building sets and then doing the performances the week of the festival. The last week consisits of tearing down the sets.

“Hopefully I can find a job somewhere over there,” said Thompson. “I would like to spend time in Scotland or that area.”

This play will run in Dibden March 22 and 23 at 7pm. It is free and open to public.