Production History: Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On (2013)

Today we're looking at a very special show, 2013's Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On. One of our goals as a program has always been to give our actors ownership over their experiences. This show, more than any other was truly theirs. Everything - the music, casting, costume choices, character names - was 100% from them. This performance was such a special way to share their dreams and hear their voices. Read on to learn more about the process and see some clips from these special vignettes.


Semester Overview

In order to accommodate our ever-growing enrollment, this semester, we split into 2 separate smaller classes. Smaller class sizes allow our volunteers to give more individual attention and time to each teen; we’re able to cater lesson plans to challenge the actors who have been with us longer, and allow the newer actors to come out of their shells in a more focused environment. We also started a “buddy system” pairing each one of our teen actors with a facilitator. And, the biggest change of all, rather than working with a well-known story or script, we decided to make something on our own!

In preparation for our spring production of The Tempest, this semester we explored the theme of magic. Magic runs throughout Shakespeare’s work, and Prospero uses magic to change the course of his life and try to right what he believes was a huge wrong to him and his daughter. In preparation for this story, we asked our actors, “What would you do if you had magic for one day?”

 Actors paired up with their facilitator buddy and they met outside of class – on Skype, over the phone, in person, and through e-mails – to create their own stories, brainstorming with questions such as:

  • How did you get your magic?
  • Can anything make your magic stronger or weaker?
  • Do you need a tool to practice your magic (like a crystal ball or a wand)?
  • Do you say a magic word? Several different words?
  • What would you like to be?
  • Where would you go?
  • What would you create?
  • What would you change?

During class we created vision boards with pictures and words to help build the story from beginning, middle, to end, and worked together to bring these each other’s visions to life.

In addition to sharing their individual voices, we also worked as an ensemble to create group pieces. The entire group opened with “Magic to Do” from Pippin. Each group had a dance party with the seniors jamming to “Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and the Juniors grooving to “Gangnam Style” by PSY. We closed the show with Prospero’s famous Act IV Scene 1 Monologue in American Sign Language.



December 21st, 2013 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre


The Ensemble

Colleen Altman

Quincy Bane

Marissa Bloodgood

Rachel Buchanan

Benjamin Collins

Alena Counter-Brown

Kathleen Daley

Samuel Floersheimer

Andrew Kosnik

Emily Kwidzinski

Emily Lavin

Lucas Miezal

Sam Petri

Sam Radinsky

Hannah Vilic

Lucy Walsh



Mallory Alcala & Katie Yohe



Aislinn Gauchay

Travis Gauchay

Lawrence Kern

Katie Lane*

Tim Lane*

Susan Steinke*

Lindsay Stock*

Kendra Van Kempen

Peter Van Kempen


Lighting and Sound Technician

Eric Van Tassell


Poster Design

Brandy Taylor of Graphic Sorbet

with headshots by Kristin Frasca

* denotes first semester with our ensemble

Reviews for Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

Flowers cannot say and words cannot convey the happiness I feel when I see my girl express herself via Gigis Playhouse Drama Group....My Alena was broken in spirit and in heart with low self esteem and NO Friends. I watched her transform into BEYONCE on stage. For the ability to do well what all of you have invested in her, gives me great joy. Thank you for the idea to allow them to act out their inner visions from their perspective. It was the best.
— Alena's Mom, Naomi
Hannah is still floating on cloud nine. It was such a creative and entertaining show. The stories, the acting, the singing, the dancing were all captivating. And I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed anything as lovely as Ben’s Dancing in the Dark “Would you like to dance?” sequence.
What a great gift Gigi’s and the Teen Drama Troupe has been to us. The care, encouragement, and love you have shown our children surpasses understanding. Your work inspires us all to live more generous lives.
— Hannah's Mom, Patrice
What a show - another famous night! We loved it - you totally captured each of the actor’s personalities. It is difficult for me/us to express what a gift Gigi’s has been to our family. Rachel loves it as does our entire family. Nancy and I bring plenty of Kleenex to each show - Ben, Andrew, Kathleen and dear Emily Lavin - all of them, were spot on.
— Rachel's Dad, John
We have been a part of ABLE since the beginning and my favorite production was definitely Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On. Emily was confident and proud of her ability to act. She owned her story with such joy.
— Emily's mom, Kathy

We're flashing back to our previous productions all summer long! Check next week's blog for a look at 2014's production of Shakespeare's classic, The Tempest