SF State actors Amanda Schaer (left) and Kenna Tanaka (right) on the set of “Dealing Dreams,” for its first showing on Nov. 3, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Richard Mayer)
SF State actors Amanda Schaer (left) and Kenna Tanaka (right) on the set of “Dealing Dreams,” for its first showing on Nov. 3, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Richard Mayer)

SF State’s first play of the semester steps into the spotlight

“Dealing Dreams” will run from Nov. 3 to Nov. 10.

November 4, 2022

Every interaction between Zoe and Trey — played by SF State actors Amanda Schaer and Kenna Tanaka — solicited laughs, gasps and even frustrated stirrings from the audience in the theater.

Their seemingly natural chemistry was the product of months of preparation. For Tanaka, it was a role that pushed him to a new level on the stage.

“I’ve really had to constrict myself and just get out of my own character and actually play the character that everyone’s going to see at the shows,” Tanaka said. “Being able to just perform as Trey the character and not Kenna the person has been the biggest challenge for me.” 

“Dealing Dreams” opened as the first play production of the semester on Thursday night. It took place in Room 104 of the Creative Arts Building, also known as The Lab.

The play centers around the story of Zoe and Trey, two young adults who are desperately searching for meaningful jobs after graduating from UC Irvine. Despite their education, they find themselves to be underqualified for the jobs they want. Eventually, Trey comes up with an idea for a new social networking website, which Zoe is eager to help him with. As they take their dream to Silicon Valley, things take a turn for the worse. 

While there were only four performers in the play, there were many people working behind the scenes to make “Dealing Dreams” possible. Roughly 20 other students and faculty were involved in operating the light and soundboards, designing the set and more. 

The play was written by Bay Area playwright Jeffrey Lo and directed by Cara Phipps. According to Phipps, she met Lo in 2010 and the trust they built working together opened the door for her to direct “Dealing Dreams.”

“He actually gave me my first directing job,” Phipps said. “He and I did several projects before I left in 2013.” 

Phipps eventually left the Bay Area to focus on learning more about the craft of directing. Since then, she has worked on dozens of plays as a freelance director. The opportunity to work with Lo again ultimately led her back to the Bay Area.

“Jeffrey and I hadn’t worked on a project together in seven to eight years,” Phipps said. “It was a cool opportunity to come do that.” 

While The Lab is just one of many performance venues in the Creative Arts Building, it is the only black box theater. This sets it apart from other venues like Knuth Hall or Little Theatre, which feature the traditional rows of seats facing an elevated stage. The Lab is a square room with a flat floor, putting the audience on the same level as the performers. 

Stage manager Jordyn Nieblas-Galvan believes that the unique stage creates an intimate experience.

“I would prefer being in a small theater like this,” Nieblas-Galvan said. “Here, you’re all in it together. I love that.” 

“Dealing Dreams” will run from Nov. 3 to Nov. 10. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased here.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Aiden Brady
Aiden Brady, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Aiden Brady (he/him) is the arts & entertainment for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in English literature. He was born in San Diego, California and currently lives in San Francisco. During his free time, he enjoys finding new music, attending concerts and watching sports.

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