REVIEW: SpeakEasy Stage produces imaginative and meaningful ‘Wild Goose Dreams’
The internet adds zing to an already imaginative tale.
Hansol Jung’s multi-dimensional Wild Goose Dreams fits into a few genres including romantic comedy, family drama, and a technological cautionary tale while also touching upon the political climate of North and South Korea. A show like this might have ended up fragmented, but Jung delves into these elements with finesse, candor, and a wealth of unpredictability. It is a unique production that manages the weight of some of its heavier topics with meaningful comedy and insightfulness helmed by a vibrant and charismatic cast.
Directed skillfully by Seonjae Kim, SpeakEasy Stage Company continues Hansol Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams live and in person at Calderwood Pavilion in Boston, Massachusetts through Saturday, April 8. The show is one hour 40 minutes with no intermission and contains adult themes. Click here for more information and for tickets.
Wild Goose Dreams is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster though the life of Yoo Nanhee, a North Korean defector living in South Korea. Weighed down by guilt, anxiety, and loneliness that cause her absurd, harrowing, and graphic dreams, Yoo happens upon a website that could change her life. Eunji Lim as Yoo Nanhee depicts introspective Yoo with quiet charm and vulnerability as she navigates her life to fulfill her parents’ absent expectations. John D. Haggerty has a mysterious, warm, and affable presence in Yoo’s life. Haggerty and Yoo’s benevolence toward each other is engaging and entertaining as Haggerty occasionally goes out on a limb for a laugh.
Jeffrey Song portrays sympathetic Guk Minsung with humbleness, loneliness, self deprecating charm and seeming optimism. He is what is termed a “goose man” working outside the country where his family lives and sends money to support them. Minsung’s wife and daughter are seldom seen in their roles, but Elaine Hom and Amanda Centeno make their selective scenes memorable.
With the internet playing a greater role in the majority of people’s everyday lives, it has developed a unique way of becoming its own character. Not a blatant or obvious one, but many times, it is a tool to distract from various levels of loneliness and an unlikely companion for some even if it isn’t real. Wild Goose Dreams takes that premise and packs some zing with an assortment of vivid characters represented by Amanda Centeno, Fady Demian, Elaine Hom, Ciaran D’Hondt, John D. Haggerty and Ryan Mardesich who collaboratively bring to life the noisy, cloying, obnoxious, intricate, detailed and not so reliable internet. The wildly inventive and outrageous costuming and accessories by Machel Ross enhances that silly, eye popping, strange, tempting yet resourceful world in a whirlwind of colors of avatars, emojis, pop up windows, and even hypertext coding. It must have been great fun putting it all together and fascinating to witness just how well the internet not only adds some lightness to this fervid tale, but blends so well with the plot. Crystal Tiala’s colorful, multipurpose, and multilevel set design leaves room for the cast’s zaniness while including some of Korea’s lighthearted landmarks like KFC. The zippy, hollow, and rattling web sounds from sound designer George Cooke along with other vocal stylings verbalized by the cast themselves heightened each aspect of this madcap and moving ride.
SpeakEasy Stage Company continues Hansol Jung’s Wild Goose Dreams live and in person at Calderwood Pavilion in Boston, Massachusetts through Saturday, April 8. Click here for more information and for tickets.