American Dreams: Stories from the Great Empire
American Dreams: Stories from the Great Empire
“’The Best Country in the World’: so say the rednecks who’ve never been anywhere else.”
Thirteen years ago, Rachel Arieff left her homeland to live in Spain. Now, in a monologue replete with colorful characters, strange adventures and diverse emotions, she takes us on a trip to a time and place called the United States of America.
There we meet her homeless grandfather, go to work in the 2nd Twin Tower of the World Trade Center, and converse with her charismatic but unlucky brother on his birthday. The ride ends in Hollywood, in an abused car with a life of its own.
Sueños americanos alternates between laughter and pain as it highlights the contradictions of a country of extremes: of millionaires and derelicts, of so-called “family values” and forgotten children; of dreams of fame and fortune that flourish amongst brutality and desperation.
A reflection on the artist’s roots, the character of a country and the path it’s on today, Sueños americanos rips the mask off a place that many think they know, but few really do.
Brilliant, Brave, as Well as Important and Timely”
Rachel Arieff’s new show does what real theatre aspires to do but rarely does: it combines interesting and engaging experience with a deep, brave, thoughtful and very relevant social wake up call. It is unique in the modern world of Hollywood success stories and the mythology of the American Dream. A dream that exists almost entirely for plus or minus two hours in some movie theatres, and almost nowhere else in the United States. I know it from my own experience as an American doctor.
It is one thing to have a fun show, an interesting and very engaging theatre experience, which I definitely had. Rachel Arieff’s acting is fantastic and she artfully brings different characters to life. It is another thing, however, to finally leave a show without asking myself (as I have so many times before): “On what planet do they live on, describing the sadly damaged backwards, inefficient, fearful, greedy and narcissistic culture of the United States as a success story.” To anyone who wants to have Catalans learn English and bring more of the American capitalistic culture to kind, peaceful and efficient Catalonia, despite the clear evidence that the US lags behind in almost every measured category, this is one of these shows that might help you think again.
Thank you Rachel Arieff. I hope that you continue to follow the wonderful artistic direction that you are on.
Striking. A Different Type of Monologue.”
A monologue full of force — for its sincerity, for the apparent simplicity with which Rachel little by little reveals some of the (probably) most dramatic moments of her life, combining them with touches of caustic humor and with a social criticism that does not exaggerate, for it is not necessary. The four acts (each one a story in itself) leave you wanting to know more about her fascinating history and her view of the world.
The Raw Version of Rachel.”
We’re accustomed to seeing Rachel in feather boas and impossible hats, but once you see her onstage dressed normally, in jeans and shirt, you know that you’re not in a “normal” show. All her monologues have always been more or less about her personal experiences, but Sueños americanos is the most personal yet. It is the raw version of Rachel. This is an intimate and personal experience that captivates you from the beginning, able to provoke guffaws as well as tears. If you don’t go to the next show, you’re wasting your time.
A New and Surprising Project”
For those who are used to seeing the Rachel Arieff “Antikarokera” or the Rachel of “Flamenguiri Perdía”, her new project will come as a surprise. Bringing to light some of her most bittersweet personal stories, Rachel makes us see the mirage of the American Dream (family, work, fame) in which “failed people don’t exist”, as she says, while at the same time she invites us to reflect on our own society and the price we are willing to pay to achieve the success that is promised to “all those willing to work hard to get it”.
America Seen by an American, Well Awake and Soulful.”
Rachel’s new show, Sueños Americanos, cannot leave anyone indifferent. The staging is simple but impactful by its darkness and silence. The monologues, as always, are interesting for many reasons: profound, raw, personal, indignant, and funny, with Rachel’s signature sense of humor. Very recommended.
Press quotes on Rachel Arieff's work:
“Sharp and irreverent.” -El Periódico
“The funniest woman in Barcelona.” Time Out Barcelona
“People shouldn't miss the chance to see any of Rachel Arieff's shows.” -Guía del Ocio
“Slash-and-burn smarts… Arieff thinks and writes her sassing.” -The Village Voice (NYC)
“The savvy Arieff has touched a chord with her show.” -Paper Magazine (NYC)
"A lethal Rachel Arieff radiates sarcasm, incorrectness and talent." -20 Minutos
“I was fascinated by the stories, a compendium of truly raw experiences that contrasted completely with the image we can have of Rachel.” -Vice Spain