Dream of a Common Language is about “art, the people who make it, and the politics that go along with it,” says director Jennifer Hart about the Drama Program’s first production of the 2018-19 season. Heather McDonald’s play debuts at the Joan and Donald Schaeffer Black Box Theater on Friday, October 5, and runs through Sunday, October 14.
Dream of a Common Language is based on an actual 1874 dinner meeting during which the first Impressionist painting exhibit was planned. Though some works by women were to be shown, women were banned from attending the dinner. In the play, the dinner is at the home of Victor, a successful artist. His wife, Clovis, was an artist, but her talents were never nurtured. She eventually stopped painting to become a dutiful wife and mother. After helping with the preparations for the artists’ gathering and then being summarily excluded from the dining room, she plans a gathering for “women only.”
“In many ways, this is a feminist piece, exploring the rights of women then and now,” Hart said. “But in every way, this piece speaks to art as a common language that encompasses everyone.”
The play has an Impressionistic feel in the language, scene shifts and speeches. Hart promises, “In our production, the set is a frame, canvas and platform for us to inspire, color and share.” She and set designer Sophia Nahon ’19 and costume designer Jack Richards ‘19 attended museums and discussed art forms to achieve the correct ambiance for the show. Alumnus Nic Christopher ’15 returned to Hofstra to work on lighting and projections. The cast – made up of Caroline Orlando ’19, Nick Hoult ’19, Lisa Humfelt ’19, Judy Streib ’20, Ethan Marble ‘19 and Sam Kaufman ’20 – is tasked with playing multidimensional characters from another era.
The Joan and Donald Schaeffer Black Box Theater is located at Joseph G. Shapiro Family Hall, South Campus. Show times are Friday, October 5 and October 12, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, October 6 and 13, at 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 7 and 14, at 2 p.m.; and Thursday, October 11, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10, $8 for senior citizens. Members of the Hofstra community receive two free tickets upon presentation of a current HofstraCard.
For tickets and information call the Hofstra Box Office at 516-463-6644, or purchase tickets online at www.hofstratickets.com. If seats are still available on the day of performance, tickets will be sold at the door beginning 90 minutes prior to showtime. (Free tickets for the Hofstra community may only be picked up at the box office in advance or at the door on the day of the performance.)