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Montreal playwright will see you in her dreams, on stage

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Dulcinea Langfelder's 'Pillow Talk' YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT
Dulcinea Langfelder's 'Pillow Talk' YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT

MONTREAL – Dulcinea Langfelder will see you in her dreams during her upcoming solo show at Centaur Theatre, March 31-April 24.

She’ll be onstage in Pillow Talk: An essay on dreaming, visually interpreting her own wildly imaginative and often whimsical nighttime thoughts in dance and movement with a sprinkling of mime for good measure.

A huge cyclorama screen behind her and the very surfaces of her nightgown, robe and body capture projections that she and her team of technicians have animated and synchronized to perfection both during studio rehearsals and in her home lab.

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There she has projectors aimed at a scale model of the stage on which she can move a “chess piece” of her body. In this fashion, when a two-dimensional President Barack Obama embraces her during the performance, his arms wrap around her back with surprising realism.

Dulcinea Langfelder enters her world of dreams in Pillow Talk at Centaur Theatre March 31-April 2 HEATHER SOLOMON PHOTO
Dulcinea Langfelder enters her world of dreams in Pillow Talk at Centaur Theatre March 31-April 2 HEATHER SOLOMON PHOTO

In the show, Langfelder also looks like she’s swaying like a blade of grass in a Van Gogh painting or getting bonked on the head by a coconut in the tropics. It’s all part of the beautiful, sometimes zany, world of sleep-induced imagery that people experience and that she’s hiked to a new level.

“We all dream every night, taking our challenges and making up these crazy stories, just trying to deal with life. I’ve always recorded my dreams. I used to write them down but it got so tiresome that I bought a little Dictaphone and I’d grab it during the night and talk into it,” says Langfelder.

“A few years ago, I decided to listen to these dreams because I was thinking about making a new creation and I was asking, ‘Where do I begin? What do I want to do and where am I going?’ And, above all, ‘Who am I now?’

“So I listened to some dreams to find out and I was astounded. I didn’t recognize my own voice because it’s somewhere between consciousness and unconsciousness.”

The nocturnal Dictaphone recordings became the narrative voice that the audience hears during the piece, complete with sighs, sounds, commentaries, and laughter as she recalls what she has just lived in her head.

Residencies to develop the show were stretched over months and even years, snatched 10 days at a time as they became available.

Langfelder tested the material as a January showcase in front of audiences in New York City at APAP 2016 (Association of Performing Arts Presenters), a global performing arts conference and marketplace, and they loved it because “the dreams are metaphors for survival and seeking our place in the cosmos.” Langfelder herself is also irresistible, a graceful, gamine presence whose vulnerability helps us identify with her journey.

“Some of the stories are so funny and I have a series of recurring dreams I call Obama erotica, but nothing provocative. Other dreams were terrifying or absurd and some were so poetic like little haikus. When I fit them together, you get a feeling of a human being struggling with life,” she says.

“We dream about our love relationships, our families and especially have anxiety dreams like when you have to perform and you’re not prepared or you’re half-naked.”

Langfelder is well prepared for this show, after numerous award-winning one-woman shows that have built on her success and endeared her to audiences around the world.

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Her most popular, Victoria, about a wheelchair-bound dementia patient whose spirit will not succumb to old age, has toured Europe and Asia and she’s since trained another actor-dancer to perform it in her stead, still under the banner of Dulcinea Langfelder & Company.

Dulcinea’s Lament, about the fictitious Cervantes lady-love who is looking for her real self, delighted Segal Centre audiences in 2013. Pillow Talk is “by far my most personal show,” she says.

For tickets, call the Centaur box office at 514-288-3161.