Aug. 14--"Am I dreaming you, are you dreaming me or am I awake?"
That is the big unanswered question in "The Screen Dreams of Buster Keaton," writer/director Rachel Joseph's one-act currently playing at the Overtime Theater. It's asked by the aptly named Dreaming Girl (the marvelously expressive Elizabeth Anne Cave), whose nighttime reverie has somehow become entangled with that of silent film director/actor Buster Keaton (a typically strong Andrew Thornton).
Each of them has doppelg ngers -- Dru Barcus, Richard David Anthony, Alyx Gonzales, Lauren Elyse Garcia and Susy Acosta -- who sometimes mirror their actions and sometimes veer off on their own adventures. They also cross paths with playwright Samuel Beckett (played with ferocity by Mary Griffith), silent film star Fatty Arbuckle (the very funny Michael Niemeyer) and Sigmund Freud (played with authority by Chris Champlin), who offers some of his thoughts on dreaming. The Dreaming Girl's Mother (well-played by Jeanne Saadi) also appears.
Daniel Jackson created the show's video element, including original segments -- some evocative of silent films -- as well as some well-chosen clips from the silent era and from more recent films. The videos play on multiple screens; sometimes, the action moves from one screen to the next. Those sequences convey a love of film that also wends through the whole piece.
Joseph and Kyle Gillette created the sound design, which makes good use of music and a metronome.
The entire enterprise gives the sense that the audience, too, has wandered into someone else's dream. Happily, it's a completely engaging one.
"The Screen Dreams of Buster Keaton" can be seen at 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through Sept. 7, with additional performances at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and at 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 8 p.m. Aug. 22 and Sept. 5, at the Gregg Barrios Theater at the Overtime, 1203 Camden St. Tickets cost $10 to $14. Call 210-557-7562 for reservations or visit theovertimetheater.org to buy tickets online.
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