Review: Lucid Dreaming, Person to Person

For the first stretch of “Dream Body Body Building” at the Chocolate Factory Theater, five performers in a row of folding chairs sit facing the audience, almost entirely still.

We watch their eyes close and remain closed. For a while — it’s hard to say how long; time is bendy here — they appear to be deep in meditation. Maybe they’ve dropped into a dream.

In this mellow and playful work, which had its premiere on Tuesday, the choreographer Ursula Eagly explores the edges between conscious and unconscious perception — the space of lucid dreaming. She seems to be asking: How might such an internal and personal experience become communal? How might performers transmit a dream state to an audience?

At just 45 minutes, “Dream Body” is efficient and thoughtful in its structure. Every moment matters, even when not much seems to be happening. This concurrence of fullness and spaciousness owes much to the sound artist Lala Misosniky, who generates a soothing soundscape from her corner of the stage. Her laptop and other electronics are part of a sculptural constellation of objects: among them metal coat hangers cascading from the ceiling; a decorative plate wrapped in rope, hanging on a wall like a giant dream catcher; and a single roller skate on the floor. (Laurel Atwell, one of the dancers, designed the set.)

Wires affixed to these items seem to channel their vibrations. When Misosniky touches them, new swells of rumbling or sparkling sound emerge. (At times, the work feels like an experimental-dance cousin of A.S.M.R.)

As their eyes drift open, the performers — Madeline Best, Justin Cabrillos, Takemi Kitamura, Atwell and Eagly — begin to stir, talking to themselves in low voices. Then, as if it were the obvious thing to do next, they pick up their chairs and walk into the audience, stationing themselves among several rows of seats. Each addresses a small group of audience members, sharing a sort of guided meditation or hallucinatory proposal.

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