Rock group Queen states in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Is this the real life, or is this the fantasy?” A similar theme is explored in Waking from the Dream, a collection of four plays, conceptualized by playwright Rochelle Perry. Her stories, based on true life experiences — love, loss, deep soul-searching — give each act depth, dimension and drama, which mesmerizes her audience from start to end.
Perry developed and honed her skills at East West Players, and “strives to bring an Asian audience to the theatre.”
Each playlet brings to life the high level of values to which Asian youth must adhere — such as aspiring to meet the ideal, fantasy lover; meeting the sometimes unrealistic academic goals of demanding parents (to the point of almost committing suicide); and to regard the elderly as sacred, sacrificing one’s own life to care for ailing, Alzheimer’s stricken loved ones.
The bravest, most innovative, expressive ensemble of actors showcases Perry’s brilliant creations — where she writes about herself, family and heritage. The First Act, “Velma and Manny,” centers on a blind date, where, despite all the modernities of matchmaking via the World Wide Web, actress Diane Chernansky (Velma) holds onto the imbroglios of her past, and the security of a miniature mannequin.
“Failure to the Family” reveals how people are such fragile flowers. Kevin Chann (Shan) is pushed to the limit, as the world changes ever so constantly, and he is stuck in a whirlwind, deciding between family loyalties or his future. Act Three, “It Just Happened,” reveals the insecurities of female lead Stefany Northcutt (Nancy), which haunt her forever.
In “Japan 1946 Meets California 2010,” the audience recognizes how dementia, as in any culture, is a universally challenging obstacle. We all must face the same quandary that Rita (Tracy Lee) does, as she sacrifices and puts her life on hold, to care for her elderly grandmother (Dian Kobayashi), and in the process, realize all the beauty of her own heritage.
Waking from the Dream plays Mondays through Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. through June 22 at the Write Act Repertory, which is located at 6128 Yucca St. in Hollywood. For tickets, email email@example.com.