Dallas — Breaking up is hard. Getting swallowed by a whale immediately after being broken up with is harder. But Zeb L. West doesn't let it get him down. And when he suddenly finds himself with an audience, he doesn't squander the chance to tell his allusively imaginative story, Innocent When You Dream, with an assist from Cervantes and Melville.
Deep in the belly of a whale, Zeb has had a lot of time to think about what went wrong. He's found comfort in two books washed up in the belly with him. Don Quixote and, appropriately, Moby-Dick. West relates his own love story to that of the books' protagonists, excusing their delusional obsession as merely passionate expressions of love. His multi-role hand puppet tends to be the voice of reason.
The performance is crazy inventive and a straight-up pleasure too watch. West's imagination creates a lot of great moments to the point that his occasional self-awareness, where he breaks character, actually detracts from the fantastic world he and director Steve Moore have created.
He could take a lesson from his character and just own it. Being stuck in the belly of a whale forces the creativeness, which, along with the easily empathic subject matter, makes for a show easy to find joy and connection in, even when talking to a hand puppet with your head shoved through a book.
» Innocent When You Dream is performed at the following times:
- Saturday, May 24, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, May 25, 3 p.m.
» To see a full festival schedule, go here