H and2Mouth is a restless, innovative young ensemble whose 2007 show Repeat After Me was the only local theater production in last year's TBA Festival. Their new show, From a Dream to a Dream, opens this weekend in co-production with the Polish company Teatr Stacja Szamocin, whose members have flown in for the two-week run. I spoke with Hand2Mouth's Jonathan Walters about what to expect.
"From a Dream to a Dream is based on writings and drawings of this strange, perverse author from Poland, who is pretty famous there but less known here, named Bruno Schulz. He was a contemporary of Kafka's—he in fact translated Kafka into Polish—[and] he was a Jewish guy who was involved the arts scene in Warsaw, and was eventually killed by the Nazis.
"His work is really beautiful and surreal and dreamy, and a lot of it involves these erotic sexual obsessions mixed with really beautiful stories about his family and his home," Walters continues. "All of that is tangled up in this really surreal story we've been making.
"We've been working on this for two years, with Stacja Szamocin. A couple years ago we came to [Polish director Luba Zarembinska], and we said to her, 'Let's do something that you've always dreamed of doing but have never done.'
"The lead action is this main character who goes to a sanatorium looking for his father, and time and space have kind of slipped off the rails. It's one really striking image after another, all these really fantastic images slipping from a dream to a memory to a fantasy to another dream." Walters says, "It's a great, dreamy, visceral ride, with no attempt at a storyline.
"I'll be curious to see how people react. It's really different from our last two or three shows, more blatantly artistic. It's poetry—[Schulz's] language is really dense and rich. Some of the text spoken by the actors is outrageously convoluted. It feels like a higher work of art, and I mean that in a good way, than our previous rowdy encounters.
It's also definitely the most erotic thing we've ever done. I don't know if that's a warning or a bonus. It's probably a bonus."