By Matt Buchanan
ABOUT THE PLAY
Sleeping Walter was developed at the University of Texas and premiered at The Haverford School. It has since played in many states and abroad. It uses a flexible ensemble cast which can be as small as eight or as large as thirty or so. It's zany and fast-paced, and features a unique structure of voice-overs, dream worlds and reality.
Walter wins the World Series in the Haverford School production.
The play is the story of Walter, a young boy who feels that in life he's just not very successful. Sure, he plods along, and people seem to like him, but he's just not very GOOD at anything. But when he's dreaming, he's good at EVERYTHING. So one day he just decides not to wake up.
Walter's parents and his sister, Grace, try in vain to wake him up, but nothing works. Meanwhile we're experiencing with Walter a series of gradually escalating dreams of success--contrasted with voice-over memories of real-life failures. (For example, as Walter remembers helping his Dad in the garage, and getting everything wrong, he dreams that he's a rocket scientist repairing a spaceship no one else can fix.)
Walter's "subjects" need his help.
Finally, Grace decides to take action. When a kiss fails to waken "Sleeping Beauty," she goes to bed herself and enters Walter's dream to try and "talk him down." By now he's progressed to being elected president, and he's well on his way to King of the Universe. Grace points out to him that his successes are all meaningless because they didn't take effort. There's no sense of accomplishment. He doesn't listen to her, and ejects her from his dream, but the seed has been sown.
When he catches his courtiers letting him win at baseball, King Walter realizes that what Grace said is true. He values the little accomplishments that he really earns more than the big ones he doesn't. So he finally decides to wake up and face the challenges of the world. As the play ends, various characters from his dreams beg him to come back, but he shuts the door on them.
Walter shuts the closet door.
HOW TO ORDER
Sleeping Walter is licensed by Brooklyn Publishers. To order a perusal copy or performance rights, call them toll free at (888)-473-8521 or visit their website.