‘A Dream at the End of Time’ – A Toe Tapping Lovecraftian Fable

By Ernest Kearney — One of the joys of seeing a play like A Dream At the End of Time is the reminder of what five actors, a director, a composer and a playwright-slash-librettist with minimal resources are capable of accomplishing when the necessary measure of talent is present within the mix.

In selecting a basis for their musical, Thomas Barrett Blakeley (book & lyrics) and Duncan C.B. Smith (music) have chosen one of the oddest of all H.P Lovecraft’s short stories, The Quest of Iranon.

Lovecraft (1890-1937) is best known for his weird horror tales of slithering, unspeakable monstrosities; the “ancient gods” of the mythos of Cthulhu with their slimy tentacles who, when awakened, spells the doom of mankind. Stories such as At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror and The Colour Out of Space are guaranteed to keep any reader from enjoying a good night’s sleep.

The Quest of Iranon is different from the bulk of Lovecraft’s canon. It is not a tale of terror, but a fable of a wandering minstrel, Iranon (Brendan Lynch) in search of Aira, a great city of which, he claims, he was once prince.

The Lovecraft story is unique on two counts, first it shows the influence on Lovecraft by the Irish writer Lord Dunsany (1878-1957) and secondly, the story is somewhat self-reflective; a rarity for the creator of Cthulhu and his minions, in that Iranon can be interpreted as a cautionary tale concerning an artist being overwhelmed by his art.

Blakeley has expanded on Lovecraft’s rather sparse narrative to good effect, fleshing out both his relationship with Ramnod (Thomas Winter) —(the youth who is so beguiled by Iranon’s tales of Aira that he leaves his life to join him in his quest)— and other barely mentioned Lovecraft characters.

Blakeley’s book is clever and amusing at times. And the songs produced by he and Smith display, both, intelligence and craft, and fulfill all the requirements of any successful musical.

The cast, Lynch, Winter, Mark Lopez, Robbie McDonald and effervescent Amazing Oakes each have their moments to shine and they shine very nicely. Director Matthew Toronto has given the production a look and feel comparable to The Fantasticks and is ably assisted in this by Jenn Kuberka (set designer) and Emma Armstrong-Muntner (costume designer).

The finished product gives great credit to all involved, and also shows great promise for the individual artists.


Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution

A Dream At the End of Time

Played durng Hollywood Fringe Festival 2022

Learn More at linktr.ee/iranon



Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

No comments


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.