Joyce Piven’s “What Dreams May Come: American Visions Through Jewish Eyes” presents three excerpted stories of acclaimed Jewish writers, but the narratives are only half-adapted into drama and don’t work together to create any sustained meaning. In the first and weakest scene, a histrionic young woman recounts with horror her parents’ courtship without explaining why she feels such dismay, leaving the audience baffled if relieved when the story ends. In the next, a surreal fairy tale and dark parable about faith, a young man visits a mystical rabbi/con artist in an attempt to save his dying father. The last story tackles difficult questions about the Holocaust and the immigrant experience while continuing the interplay between mysticism and reality. Despite earnest and sometimes striking performances, especially Brent T. Barnes’ impressive control in three of the leads, the show suffers from a lack of dramatic arc and ultimately feels like a jumble of staged readings with special effects. (Monica Westin)
At Piven Theatre Workshop, 927 Noyes, Evanston, (847)866-8049. This production is now closed.