IndyFringe: Sweet Dreams, Pillowman

This is part of IndyFringe 2022, Aug. 18-Sept. 4 (individual performance times vary) in downtown Indianapolis. Details and tickets at IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Monique (Audrey Stonerock) is literally a hot mess. Her apartment is a wreck, her hygiene is questionable at best, her cat has run away in disgust and her only companions are a trio of singing rats (Chelsea Mullen, Carrie Powell, and Maria Meschi). Is it any wonder she has begun talking to the pile of pillows and blankets next to her?

She has also started to imagine hearing a strange male voice from somewhere. Is it the rats playing a trick on her or something more sinister?

When she discovers that there is indeed a Pillowman (voiced and puppetted by Zachariah Stonerock), she is frightened at first, but then begins to deal with this manifestation. As is often the case, her visitor is here to help her work through the issues that have brought her to this place in her life.

In “Sweet Dreams, Pillowman*,” presented by American Lives Theatre, many hard truths are explored, but catharsis (and oranges) win out in the end.

Personally, I feel that J. E. Hibbard’s script makes a perfect Fringe show. The characters are interesting, the story is charming, it lulls you into a false sense of whimsy and then hits your emotional buttons (without going overboard).

Experience the sweetness 7:15 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday, Aug. 26-27, on the Indy Eleven stage at the IndyFringe Theatre.

(*This play has nothing to do with the much-darker drama “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh; though if you do find a production of that one, be sure to check it out.)

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