Dream Machine beats the establishment, man

By Jeff Kubik

Open your minds kids and kittens because straight from the Beat generation to the Big Secret Theatre, it’s Dream Machine, a musical experience from One Yellow Rabbit. If you’re not up with what I’m laying down, then it’s time to pay a visit to a theatre company for those with tastes that the Establishment just doesn’t satisfy.

“It’s not a musical biography,” says Blake Brooker, lyricist for Dream Machine and co-artistic director for One Yellow Rabbit. “Rather, it’s like the spirits of the Beats come out and share this music and song with us and then disappear again.”

Whoa man, whoa.

In many ways, though, the so-called “beatniks”–snapping their fingers to the smooth jazz rhythms of a smoky, dimly lit cafe–were familiar to any group of people in a contemporary coffee shop or classroom. They were opposed to war and big business and made the establishment very uncomfortable.

“They were about criticizing an American paradigm of big business, militarism and conformity,” says Brooker. “The piece is about struggles and the accomplishments and ability that must have been involved with being one of these figures.”

Though it’s easy to empathize with the beatnik cry for nonconformity–we live in a world where Starbucks employees hoist anti-globalization placards to court the corporate media–talk is cheaper than a second-hand bongo drum. Does a relic from the Beat generation amount to anything more than hipster poseur in Squaresville, Canada?

“I feel that the message may be ubiquitous in some circles but the practice of having a way of living that is separate from these control mechanisms is not prevalent,” responds Brooker. “These people were hated and ridiculed–they had nothing waiting for them; no pension, no security.”

Now you may hear what’s being laid down, but your mind’s probably still in uncool knots over the kind of musical named after a machine designed to induce a dream state where the mind could be freed. How now, brown capitalist?

“It’s time based, 90 minutes,” says Brooker, making me feel like my head is filling with nonconformist cotton. “There’s a beginning, middle and end with a rising kind of feel–moments to relax, moments to take in a lot of information, there’s moments to enjoy something quiet.”

Kind of makes you want to go out and buy a stylish black beret and smoked glasses doesn’t it?

Dream Machine runs until March 15 at the Big Secret Theatre. For information call 264-3224.

Can you dig it?

Leave a comment