Roxanna Hope, Michael Laurence and Matthew Schechter and Dael Orlandersmith in "Horsedreams." Photo Credit: Sarah Krulwich.

Horsedreams by Dael Orlandersmith at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, wasn’t what I expected, but it was a great performance none-the-less. Dragged into the live scene of a packed club, we are introduced to young Desiree (Roxanna Hope). She lives for the night life and self-expression.  Desiree is a woman that can’t be chained, but is meant to be loose. On the dance floor she meets Loman (Michael Laurence), a corporate man that she doesn’t feels attracted to. Loman is grooving on the dance floor and spots Desiree, amazed by her beauty and body.  Their relationship soon leads to marriage and a life in Westchester.

The married couple has a child called Lucka, who is played by Matthew Schechter.  At a young age he loses Desiree to an overdose from her active drug use.  Desiree’s life as a wife wasn’t what she wanted, and from a certain perspective she never was fit to be a mother. Lucka, a wonderful child, cherished his mother, and has a love for riding horses. Loman continues to miss his lost Desiree, and while he drinks an unnatural amount of scotch, he hasn’t taken drugs for seven years.  He craves some and purchases it on Lexington- 125. This moment signifies the downfall of the performance.

Around this time in the play a relationship between Lucka and Mira (Dael Orlandersmith) is formed.  Mira is not new to drug use. Mira’s own family has suffered from the deathly effects of drugs. As an older woman trying to better her life through education, Mira acts a strong role model to Lucka.  When she confronts Loman about his addiction yelling the phrase “I hate junkies!” after hearing Lucka talk about his father recent activities shocks the audience and solidifies the control drugs have over the family. Just like his wife Loman is turned to the use of both cocaine and heroin. Throughout the play Desiree’s slight phrases about drug uses make the act thrilling.  When everything is revealed to Lucka about his parents: his respect decreases and his mother’s image shattered in his mind. Seeing his father’s shifting emotions Lucka realizes that his father has become and confronts his father about his issue.

Throughout the play Desiree uses small monologues to demonstrate the pleasures of using the drugs. When drug use is described, the audience takes with them the terrible effect of drugs on this small family. The acting was great and captivating, but the overall theme rose beyond their performance. Horsedreams was a play of reality.