Dream Masons transformed the façade of the Salamanca Arts Centre into an awesome theatrical spectacle of grand proportions. This unique work brought together a group of 85 professional artists, students and local community volunteers. An additional show crew of 65 performers, musicians, choir members, operators and backstage technicians worked together to create a visually spectacular theatre work for an audience of approximately 14,000 over four nights.
Balconies folded out of the windows, a huge false wall collapsed, water gushed from the building, and a boat was winched up the façade before it paddled over the audience. The distinctive aesthetic of Dream Masons was defined by engineered spectacle elements, heightened physical performance and lyrical shadow puppetry. Three choral pieces were sung from high up on balconies, and the entire work was accompanied by a live band with original music.
Dream Masons was the product of an exciting international collaboration. Chicago director, Jim Lasko, from REDMOON THEATER, travelled to Australia to collaborate with co-director Jessica Wilson, and theatrical engineer extraordinaire, Joey Ruigrok Van Der Werven (DOGTROEP and STALKER). Dream Masons explored an original theatrical language that spoke to a large popular audience inviting them to come together to celebrate the past and consider the future.
Contrasting the sublime and the comic, Dream Masons drew on a number of references; mythical, historical and cultural. We share in the lives of a society of residents who all find themselves in the same boat. Going about their business as normal on the top two floors, they are unaware of a host of overlooked workers slaving, in shadow, beneath them. As the residents use and spill water, the workers rush to pump and siphon it away, keeping their whole world afloat. When too much water is let loose, the residents inadvertently create a flood, and the Overlooked are the first to drown.
Now the residents try to pump the water from room to room before undertaking a dramatic escape to the top floor, as their rooms, one-by-one, fill with water. In all of the flurry to save themselves, they fail to rescue a young boy, whose room also fills with water. As he sinks through the floors, the whole building transforms into an underwater world. A shadow whale, operated by 20 overhead projectors in separate rooms, fills the building and swallows the boy. Inside the belly of the whale, he is guided by the Overlooked workers and finds his way to the spout. A dramatic water spout, 10 metres high, ejects the Boy through the building’s chimney, to a resounding roar of the audience below.
DREAM MASONS opened the Ten Days on the Island festival in Hobart Tasmania in 2007.