Dreamweavers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Dreamweavers 

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Dreamweavers, Pintig Cultural Group, at the Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. The central point of Rodolfo Carlos Vera's play is made explicit near its end, when a Filipino woman upbraids a Dutch acquaintance: "To you we're folklore!... You're nothing but a tourist." Unfortunately Vera's own snapshot of the Philippines is so schematic that we're left feeling like mere tourists ourselves.

It can't be easy to make a musical about agrarian exploitation and microlending to textile cooperatives. An earnest cast and the interest of being exposed to another culture carries Dreamweavers for a while, but ultimately its portrait of three women and their daughters is too shallow to satisfy. And while the preshow music--a recording of "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," fitting thematically if not ethnically--is terrific, much of Narciso Lobo's score is forgettable, and the voices range from the exceptional alto of Ginger Cacnio to several struggling to stay in tune.

Director Louis Pascasio has done well harmonizing the cast's equally variable acting skills, and the women portraying the mothers (Cacnio, Aimee Algas, and Ginger Leopoldo-Mascarenas) bring conviction and freshness to their interactions even when Vera's dialogue feels stale or announces his theme ("I am poor, and my dreams will not come true"). But the culture of the Philippines and the Filipino exile experience deserve more skilled attention than this.

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