Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend

To preemptively address any potential misconceptions, there is no authoritative evidence to suggest that the savory cheese-based snack known as rarebit has any measurable psychotropic properties. Nevertheless, to judge from cartoonist Winsor McCay's Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, a newspaper comic strip published in the early 1900s, this seemingly innocuous staple of pub grub possessed enough narcotic power to make LSD seem like evening tea. Throughout McCay's feverishly atmospheric tales, slumbering rarebit eaters are haunted by surreal visions shaped around subconscious desires and guarded fears. A hallucinogenic gallery of phobias and anxieties were manifested in nightmarish scenarios that grew progressively more inescapable until the victim awoke. Reflecting the psychosis of individuals and society at large, the strip remains a singular expression of literary psychoanalysis. Acknowledging the twisted insight at the core of the work, Hardcover Theater has crafted its latest production around McCay's bizarre visions. Entitled Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, the production makes a bold attempt to extend their highly conceptual stagecraft to dreamlike scenarios. Written and directed by Steve Schroer, the innovative founder of Hardcover Theater, the production may well represent the company's most audacious attempt to date at transforming unlikely literary works for the stage. Should everything come together, audiences are in for one mind-bending trip, rarebit consumption optional. (Photo by Steve Schroer)
Fridays, Saturdays, 7 p.m. Starts: April 4. Continues through April 26, 2014

 
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