A Day of Dreaming

Book By: Claudia Haas
Play #: 8602
Pages: 43 pgs
Cast: 4 w, 4 m for small cast; 8 w, 7 m, 2 flexible for large cast

Melisande dreams of catching a unicorn, Ana dreams of capturing the perfect sunrise, River dreams of finding the all-consuming love of his life, while Kristi seeks to unlock her love. These are just a few of the stories of love lost and found in “A Day of Dreaming.” We meet young people with powerful dreams which they write in a Dream Journal that is nestled in a covered bridge (which exists today in Winterset, Iowa). There is always the hope that if they write down their dreams, they will come to fruition. The stories run the gamut of forging new connections to tough goodbyes. There is the silly (star-crossed lovers who can only speak to each other in song titles), the poignant (high school sweethearts say goodbye), and the quirky (can a leprechaun catch a unicorn?). Tying the stories together is the love story of Charlie and Dancie whose love lasts to the great beyond. The play will take you on a magical mystery tour filled with intrigue, tenderness, and sweetness sprinkled with spice. Running time: 65-75 minutes.

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Behind The Scenes

With Claudia Haas


What inspired you to write this play?

I have done overnights a few times to visit the Bridges of Madison County. The “Dream Journal” nestled in Hogback Bridge has always fascinated me. Yes, it’s real and it’s been there for decades - go visit! 

People pour out their hearts, write funny asides or just comment on the day. There are many declarations of love, a few sadnesses at the passing of a loved one, celebrations of beating cancer, and a host of other dreams and quotes. It is a reminder to me of what is good in this world and our common humanity. I always thought I would write about it and through the years have devised quite a few stories that take place near or on that bridge. Finally, it dawned on me to not settle on one story but combine them just as they are combined in the “Dream Journal.” It was pure pleasure to sit down and write a play centering on love, the whimsical, and the connections people forge not only to each other but to the world.


What's your favorite part or line in the play?  Why?

I am the worst at finding a favorite anything. I usually have at least three…or five…or… you get the picture. I do like Charlie’s line in the opening stating, “This journal contains the goodness in the world in case we need a reminder.” When I reread and edited the play, I was glad to see that line. I think every day, we need to remind ourselves of the good. 

For fun: Marion constantly saying, “They never did find the body.” Hmm, what does that mean? So here’s your teaser: read the play and find out…

Avery’s eulogy for his pig brought me back to all the rescue pets I have loved and lost and how much they added to my life. Now I wish I had had a pig.

And finally, I love playing with the fantastical. Finding the magic in life adds sweetness and just enough spice. Not Fishing and River and Rain gave me both.


Where did the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?

There’s a bit of me in the characters. And a bit of the people I met through the writings in “The Dream Journal.” A friend and I used to dream of catching a unicorn. Because why not? By one of the bridges, there was a bench dedicated to a young person who died too young, and the inscription led to the story of Charlie and Dancie. There are indeed locks all over the bridge that are supposed to cement the love between two people. But what happens if that love falls apart? And that inspired Kristi’s story. On the way home from Madison County, we always pass by the farmhouse that was used for the iconic painting “American Gothic.” There are many fun stories about the inspiration behind that painting, so I decided to make up another one. The fun of being a writer is that there are many ways to tell a story.


What did you try to achieve with this play?

I definitely want to engage young (teen/college age) performers. The characters are within their scope of experience and imagination. There’s just enough meat on them to give them depth and finding their backstories can be enjoyable for them. As a former director of school and community theatre productions, I devised a show where you are not calling a huge number of students for each rehearsal. Have you seen the schedule of young people? They are busy! 

As mentioned before, writing the play gave me an optimistic look at our collective humanity as young people are just starting their lives, I wanted to pass that optimism to them. The world has challenges. Some of the characters have challenges but there are ways through these. Let’s see our way through the roadblocks and concentrate on finding the good. It’s not Pollyanna of me to think that - I see it every day.


Do you have anything else you'd like to add?

After writing the play, I put up several of the stories as small playlets on my website. Within a few days, I got many requests from school directors and theater teachers to use them in the classroom. They are ideal for classwork. I also got requests for usage in end-of-year play festivals which involve rights and royalty, and portions of the play were used that way. Those early requests told me that the play could indeed be a good match with theatre education. Because the play is made up of vignettes, the director can also choose to make a one-act for the High School One Act Competition. They have the luxury of picking which vignettes would work best for their particular students. I started my writing life in theatre education, and I have tremendous respect for those that work in that field. It truly is a labor of love: love of theatre and love for their students. I salute them and hope my appreciation of them shows through my plays.