Review: Teatro Vista’s The Dream King Takes Us on a Magical Musical Silent Adventure

In The Dream King by Teatro Vista, creator Marvin Quijada as Sam performs a magical if familiar story in movement and original music. It’s a “silent musical “ about a man in love with the woman of his dreams, performed with projections on a constantly changing stage. Eight other performers join Quijada for the adventure, constantly changing as well, and often wearing outrageous headgear or masks. 

The Dream King’s dreams are generated by sleep, of course, and Quijada sleeps on a cleverly designed vertical bed, on which he falls asleep instantly, waking refreshed (or not) and ready to go to his office. When he’s awake, Sam is stuck in the mundane life of a corporate worker. In his dream world, he’s the King. We are never quite sure when he‘s awake or when he’s dreaming but it doesn’t matter because we easily follow his adventures, clowning or comedic fighting with his cohorts—and meeting sweet with the woman he falls in love with (Ashlyn Lozano). She may be a princess or a diva, but she arrives and slips away mysteriously—until the end.

Ashlyn Lozano and Marvin Quijada.

If the idea of a “silent musical” intrigues you, I promise that you will not be disappointed by taking the journey to the Chopin Theatre to see The Dream King. Your 80 minutes will fly by.

Marvin Quijada is the creator of this fanciful choreographed vision, directed by Sandra Marquez and Alice da Cunha. In addition to Quijada and Lozano, the performers are Chih-Ju Cheng, Jean Claudio, Liz Krane, Ayssette Muñoz, Claudia Quesada, Jordan Reinwald and Tommy Rivera-Vega. 

During the play, projections change the nature of the stage and its backdrop, and are preceded by clips of silent films such as those made by Buster Keaton in the 1920s. Some dialogue is projected on a side stage screen in English, Spanish and Polish. Projection design is by Liviu Pasare. Original music is by Matthew Chapman and Quijada; Chapman is responsible for sound design. Costumes and the glorious headgear are by Caitlin McLeod. Puppetry design is by Mike Oleon. Liv Sullam is stage manager.

Marvin Quijada and Tommy Rivera-Vega.

Marvin Quijada or “Silent Marvin” is a musician, clown, mime and digital artist. See examples of his work and style at silentmarvin.com.  

The Dream King by Teatro Vista continues at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., through June 18. The play runs about 80 minutes with no intermission. Showtimes are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $45 and are available at www.teatrovista.org. Student tickets are available for every performance for $20 with a valid student ID. Teatro Vista’s Teatro For All program offers a limited number of affordable tickets to those in the community who need them most, on a first-come, first-served basis, for $20 per ticket.

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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at nancybishopsjournal.com, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.