Come in, grab a name tag, pour yourself a cup of coffee – it’s always free! In THE DREAMS WITHIN US – or “All Day Affair” as its working title – performer and playwright Frank Nardi transforms a University of the Arts studio into an AA meeting. The audience, by choosing name tags and sitting in the corresponding seats, become fellow addicts and members of Nardi’s family. His story of substance abuse, grief, and hope will have you hooked minutes into the performance; Nardi commands the room with his personable charm and deft narrative ability, and as the audience collectively sips coffee, the lines between audience and character blur.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Frank Nardi tells us, encourages constituents to connect with “a God of their understanding” on their path to sobriety. Nardi’s grandfather seems to fill this role for him, and much of the play focuses on this relationship. Through dreams, Frank’s grandfather steers him on the right course – and by the deeply intimate presentation and structure of the piece, we come to feel like we know this man ourselves. We weep for Frank, who weeps for his grandfather. THE DREAMS WITHIN US is a story of redemption in the light of loss – as well as Dave Matthews Band and free coffee. [The Terra Building – Studio 703 and 707, 211 S. Broad Street] June 18–June 20, 2015, solowfest.com/2015-shows.