Dream of Perfect Sleep

Kevin Kautzman
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The Southwest Playwriting Competition—2013
The Kernodle New Play Award—2013


DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP is the story of an aging couple, Mary and Gene, and their adult children — recovering-addict Robert and new-ager Melissa. Mary suffers from severe vertigo and just wants to watch her TV show. Gene is busy organizing a very special holiday dinner, but party planning isn't exactly his strong suit. When the estranged kids come home for the holidays, Gene reveals some unexpected news that threatens to destroy the family's already strained bonds.

Production Info

Cast: 4 total (2 female, 2 male, including 1 older female and male)
Full Length Drama (about 90 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Kevin Kautzman, an American playwright here making his British debut, has hit upon an important subject: how we deal with dementia and attendant problems, in a world where the old are growing ever larger in number … It’s difficult to describe the play without revealing the moral dilemma it poses. All I can say is that it takes the form of a fraught family reunion in which an elderly couple invite their grownup children to what looks like a Christmas dinner even though it is only mid-June. Gene, the dad, has an unspecified terminal illness, and his wife, Mary, who periodically lapses into fantasies of being a Sumerian fertility goddess, has only the shakiest grasp on reality. Together they have made a big decision which they announce to Robert, a recovering addict, and their adopted daughter, Melissa, who is into tantric healing … Kautzman has written a perfectly good family play, with palpable echoes of O’Neill.” —Michael Billington, The Guardian

“There is a feeling of raw truth about this play that is constantly absorbing.” —What’s On Stage

“A funny, heartwarming and powerful story of hope and loss as an elderly couple plan their last days on earth.” —Broadway World

“A play that seeks to tug at your heartstrings and not overburden you with guilt and scenes of familial dysfunction.” —Everything Theatre

“Witty, insightful.” —Time Out

“An original insight into dementia.” —Stage

“The story is moving and the questions Kautzman asks of death and aging are resounding.” —A Younger Theatre

“[Kautzman] tackles serious themes without ever being heavy-handed or too earnest.” —Public Reviews

About the Author


  • Kevin Kautzman

    Kevin is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter originally from North Dakota. He holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (BA, History & Philosophy '03) and the University of Texas at Austin (MFA, Creative Writing, Michener Fellow '13). He lives in Saint Paul. Kevin first studied playwriting at the Royal Court's young writers program and has received both the Jerome and Michener fellowships as well as a number of awards and scholarships, including the UK International Student Playscript (COYOTE), the Kernodle and the Southwestern Playwriting awards (DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP) and the Sewanee and Kenyon playwriting scholarships. His IRIS with Red Eye in Minneapolis was named best playwriting by Lavender Magazine's year in review, 2010. He has been a finalist for the Yale Drama Series (THEN WAVES), the Pen Center USA (THEN WAVES, WOLF CRY WOLF), and the Princess Grace (DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP) awards in addition to the Lila Acheson Wallace program at Juilliard (MODERATION). His drama DREAM OF PERFECT SLEEP was nominated for an Offie and is available from Oberon. His work has appeared in the UK and US at including the Finborough, History Theatre, the Living Theatre, Page 73, the Playwrights' Center, Red Eye, Spooky Action Theatre and Theatre503. In 2017 Kevin worked on BBQ Films Emmy-nominated live theatrical ECoin Launch Party, in support of MR ROBOT. Most recently his new play MODERATION received a Zoom workshop with Spooky Action Theatre and was named a semi-finalist at the Austin Film Festival. In collaboration with London-based director Abbie Lucas, he’s at work on two original feature screenplays and a concept for television. He also hosts a podcast about things people love, called GET THIS as well as a podcast about the dark side of creativity called ART OF DARKNESS. He is co-founder of the experimental theatre writers Cut Edge Collective.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 3/25/2021
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881459005

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Dream of Perfect Sleep is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC