The play then moves back to Donny’s youth where Simon is a mercurial
and charismatic man who has a need to challenge and conquer everything in his
path, including a huge sea creature he does battle with from the shore of a
great lake. Simon’s fight with the sea monster escalates, and Donny develops
his own dark fascination with the creature. His mother attempt to turn him away
from Simon’s dangerous and exhilarating way of life by turning him to
the world of art and the magic of painting. In spite of her Donny begins to
test himself against the creature.
In the meantime Donny and his mother Celia live in Simon’s magical shadow. Even Simon’s lovemaking with Celia is larger than life, affected as it is by the demons of his past. Simon becomes impossibly wealthy. He cheats death. It seems that nothing can stop him, but one day, during an argument with Celia, his fortunes change. He goes broke and in his shame leaves home, abandoning Celia and Donny.
Several years later Donny is a young adult. Celia has turned him in to the painter she has always wanted him to be, a painter of magical power. They discover Simon panhandling on the street. He doesn’t recognize them. But even Simon’s begging has a magical dimension. One day he is rewarded with a prodigious downpour of money from the sky. With his fortune recovered he returns home to find Donny doing battle with the sea creature and trying to incorporate his vision of the creature into his art. Simon encourages Donny to fight it to the death. But it is Simon who is killed in the end, leaving Donny to struggle with his father’s legacy and find a way to integrate the two visions of life his parents have given him.
Magic Dad and the Dreams I Don’t Remember is a play about
the violence of love, the mystery of happiness in a hostile world and the power
of death to make us most alive.