The characters are a stenographer, a geographer, and a typographer, none of whom appear to be acquainted at the start of the show. The stage is set with only a table and a few chairs, so it seems set for a panel discussion more than for a play; it appears as if the trio might merely be renting the theater on a dark night.
As they jabber on, the "-ographers" all seem terribly passionate about their chosen career paths. But as the evening unravels, it becomes clear that they also harbor negative feelings about their work, and their concerns about professional integrity begin to surface. The stenographer worries about his accuracy. What are the repercussions if he should get a word wrong in court? The typographer gets heady about the calculating nature of her work, as she considers the way in which choosing a specific type or layout for a novel or essay can change the way a reader interprets the text. And the geographer starts to think about her own trade: Is the purpose of making a map to illustrate the placement of countries, or is it to create boundaries that didn't exist previously?
"Why is Russia pink, and Finland yellow, and Poland this ugly green color?" asks Lisa Steindler, artistic director of Encore Theatre Co., which is producing Dream. Steindler goes on to say that the essence of the play is less about careers than it is about grander themes like manipulation and boundaries. "It's fascinating and so truthful ... to take these three different types of work that nobody talks about and make them relevant this way."
In his signature style, Bock (known for his Bay Area successes Swimming in the Shallows and Five Flights) constructs most of the play as a direct address to the audience from the three characters (Michael Shipley as the stenographer, Jamie Jones as the typographer, and Aimee Guillotas as the geographer). But Bock also includes two mysterious flashbacks that give us clues as to how the three wound up here in the first place.