Made up of eighteen monologues and divided into six segments (fantasies, nightmares, hallucinations, sweet dreams, broken reveries and visions), the play uses the voices of real people to convey, with striking effectiveness, a sense of what America and its people are, both in truth and in fantasy. Ranging from the rich and famous (Ted Turner, Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the obscure (a farmer, a bellhop, a Hare Krishna disciple) to hardbitten cynics and hopeful optimists, the diverse monologues weave an evocative tapestry out of the simple truths and cogent observations that emerge when people speak their minds with honesty and candor. And, taken together, the various segments and speeches blend into a moving theatrical experience that is revealing, often very funny, frequently moving and sometimes disturbing—but that always speaks from and to the heart of this great and singular nation in all its richness and diversity.
Drawn from Mr. Terkel's bestselling book American Dreams: Lost and Found, this absorbing and genuinely affecting theatre piece creates an overview of the American experience in our time through the voices of the people. A seamless mosaic of monologues spoken by young and old, rich and poor, the hopeful and the cynical, the play was first presented with great success by Chicago's famed Victory Gardens Theater, and has since become a favorite among the nation's leading regional theatres. "Peter Frisch has sifted through that gold in Terkel's book A,erocam Dreams: Lost and Found and picked out the best nuggets…The result is a simple play that is deeply moving." —Chicago Daily Herald. "…it is vibrant, gripping drama, almost a song of soliloquies…AMERICAN DREAMS transmits pride, zest, guts, drive, belief and frustration, qualities that wave to us like our American flag." —Leader Newspapers. "AMERICAN DREAMS is a rich theatrical tapestry…" —Chicago Sun-Times. "…a clever and bittersweet odyssey through the American imagination, which leaves one feeling surprisingly hopeful about the state of our national faith." —Berkshire Eagle.