Photo By: Genevieve Jones
Ingrid’s Dream is a play by Genevieve Jones that has been in development for eight years. Recently, it had a staged reading at the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC).
On Friday, April 1, a staged reading was held at the NAC. The reading was directed by Brock Alumnus Kristina Ojaperv and featured two Brock students as actors. Yasmine Agocs read as Kayla, and Michael Naszados read as Kyle. They performed alongside professional actors who brought a compelling text based on real events to life.
The play follows Ingrid (Sarah Murphy-Dyson), a woman who suffers from sleepwalking and strange dreams. The action truly begins when her son Kyle calls, telling her and her husband (his step-father) that he’s coming home from university to visit. The events take place during a snowstorm which amps up the stakes as everyone in Kyle’s life attempts to unravel what’s wrong and Ingrid stands by her son with unwavering love and support.
The NAC hosts a variety of arts events, play readings, film screenings, and art exhibits. The back room of the building was transformed to host the play reading, with cozy chairs and coffee tables set up facing a stage framed by fake trees and rocks, inviting the viewers to be immersed in Ingrid’s world for the reading.
Jones introduced her play, sharing details about the process and inviting viewers to email her with questions, or to approach her and the cast after the presentation to talk and mingle.
It was a very welcoming event and a lovely way to share the play without mounting a full production. Murphy-Dyson brought tremendous energy to the role of Ingrid that took the performance off the page, even for a reading. The entire cast was very connected and committed as they read through both acts with no intermission, with Ojaperv reading stage directions.
Agocs was also outstanding in the difficult role of Kayla. She’s emotional and erratic, with fast-paced dialogue where she tries to get her troubled boyfriend Kyle to open up. Later in the play, she delivers a complicated monologue about guilt and anger that was wonderfully delivered by Agocs. Naszados did especially well in his scenes with Murphy-Dyson, taking a more supportive role and playing an appropriate level of emotional detachment for their scenes.
Jones explained that she started writing Ingrid’s Dream during her undergraduate degree and workshopped it with different theatre companies before attending University of Guelph, where the play became her thesis project while completing her master’s there under the mentorship of Canadian playwright Judith Thompson. The scenes of realistic dialogue interjected with poetic text is reminiscent of Thompson’s style. It is a very traditional play script in terms of structure and style and it effectively tells a tense and dramatic story with an interesting cast of characters that give the actors a lot to work with.
Overall, the staged reading of Ingrid’s Dream at the NAC was a lovely event, highlighting the kind of arts events available to the community through the NAC, and leaving viewers curious to see where Jones will take her script next. The reading was just a taste of the potential this script has and I’d be curious to see what a full staging would be like, and what changes might be made.