Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
Drew Petriello’s Anna St. Hesia Dreams is a fever dream in a blackbox. It’s pronounced “Anaesthesia Dreams,” by the way, if that gives you a clue to the plot. Jinny Ryann plays Anna who has just gone under for brain surgery to remove a tumor, and we’re in her head. And oh, the insanity that’s rattling around in there.
Not to say that Anna is crazy. But her tumor is doing things to her perception and her dreams are a mixture of a wonderland and nightmarish landscape of horror. The stories she tells about how nightmare came into the dreamscape is a gorgeous tapestry of images reminding one of the works of Wayne Barlowe, Stephen King, and “The King in Yellow”. You see, while this tumor is growing, she’s begun to see it as part of herself. It’s a part she knows she needs to lose, but in doing so, she must let go of a presence that feels so connected to her that there is bitterness even in the knowledge that this will help her live.
Jinny Ryann is captivating as Anna, owning the stage and telling the often bizarre stories with ease and poise. It’s a testament to her talent that such a specific script of imagery is conveyed to the audience with perfect clarity. She and the text are a perfect match.
Unsettling, gorgeous, and with a subtle and wonderful performance.
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