[I’m not sure why I failed to publish this dream and Active Imagination when it occurred. I remembered the dream although I never came to terms with it, but while currently writing a book I’ve titled Story Alchemy, I finally realized its significance and dug it up buried in my blog drafts.]
January 28, 2012 A New Form of Theatre
04:30 am. I just woke from another bizarre dream. I was in a room with five other men. Three of us were there as spectators, and the other three were actors in a play or some strange reality show. I am not sure that a large audience was viewing this. At least, they were not a part of my awareness while this was happening, although I quickly wondered about an audience soon after I woke.
The three men who were actors in this drama, and it was as close to real life as you can get, were arguing over soemthing that had happened concerning their business that had gone wrong. One man had been in charge of some project that had gone wrong, but he was rather unconcerned about the outcome. His boss was not as flippant about it, and as far as I can remember, fired the man on the spot.
The other two members of the audience and I were sitting on a sofa in the same room with the actors, and the play was being put on for us. We could participate in the dialogue to a certain extent but could not interfere with the action. Seems that we could only comment or ask a question now and then. After his boss fired him, the man who made the mistake left the stage. And that’s another thing. We were actually not on a stage. We were in a home. The entire play was being staged in a normal home that had been st setup for this play.
After the man left, a woman entered, and I remember being concerned for her physical wellbeing. But it seems that they never performed that part of the play, or if they did, I’ve forgotten what happened. I believe it was a rape scene, and I remember being worried about the emotional impact it was going to have on me, me being in the same room with such violence toward a woman. But the next thing I remember is that the woman was gone, and another man entered. He was a large man, muscular, and in a T-shirt. He came in and sat down in an easy chair on the other side of the room from the three of us who were spectators. He started talking about two friends, or possibly business associates of his who got into a fight. He said that these were big men, and that, although they were business men, they were good at fighting, really good. The implication being that both men got hurt really bad.
One of the spectators I was with asked the actor a question about what happened, and the actor interacted with him to answer the question, but then went back to scripted dialogue. The question seemed an intrustion, but that this type of questioning from the audience, the three of us, was expected and a part of how this play was presented.
I then woke, and I immediately, but impulsively, began fanticising to extend the action of the play, envisioning the action of the fight, and the two fighters going to the p hospital emergency room to get stitched up. But I also then realized what a bizarre dream I had just had, and wondered what my Collective Unconscous was trying to tell me. This dream seemed to be a take on the characteristics of visiting another family and being witness to their family arguments, except that this was business people, or possibly criminals, the mob or possibly drug dealers.
It is also a lot like the way I’ve been writing fiction. I have created my vampire novel by first creating a narrator who I go see to get her to tell me the story. I envision that I enter the Iris of Time and go see her, and we lie down together, hold hands, and she tells me the story there in the dark. We both imagine the story. I then ask her questions about her story, but we do not question our characters. Perhaps we should.
I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s “Epilogue” at the end of The Tempest. This is one of the most talked about passages in all Shakespeare. Prospero talks directly to the audience and speaks as though he is both Prospero and Shakespeare. He asks the audience for its approval, by their applause of course. But it is also as if the audience has been a participant all along, sort of a god overseeing the action.
The thing I remember about the play of my dream is being both a part of the play and at the same time, not a part of the play. We were sort of a Greek chorus. We could participate in the play by asking questions and making comments, but our part in the play wasn’t scripted, and we had no impact on the action. We were both in the play and outside of it. I remember that the emotional impact was quite profound. We were not in reality threatened, but we were so close to the action, and in some ways a part of it, yet not a part of it, that we could be overcome with emotion.
I thought about a Broadway play where before it began, the producers would come out on stage and select three members of the audience at random to go up on stage with the actors and experience the play from there. They could comment and ask questions, and the actors would address them, but the script would be followed to the word with these intrustions. When the play was over the three audience members who had see the play from onstage with the actors would then debrief the audience on what the experience was like being a part of, but not an actual part, of the play. The audience would be watching them watch the play.
I could also envision a large home being the stage for such a play where the audience and cast intermixed, and the members of the audience didn’t know who the actors were, until of course the play began and was acted out from within the audience. The play would occur in different rooms perhaps even at the same time, and audience members that didn’t see one part could explain to the others what happened at several planned breaks. Even the actors could then take part in the conversation about what had happened, as if it really had happened. Then the play would resume quite without warning, and the audience would stand around and watch the action proceed without interfering.
Of course, it would also be possible to have members of the audience become participants in the play, where an actor would request the help of a specific audience member to, say, help him kill a man. In that way, an audience member would understand or get to experience the feeling of being an actor. Perhaps, less dramatically, a member of the audience would only be asked to give the actor, say a woman, a hug. At least in some small way, at least a portion of the audience could participate in the play. I would also imagine some security people being present on the periperie to extract any members of the audience who became unruly and or overly participatory in the action.
I can imagine this being a really powerful theatre experience. I know the limited experience in my dream was. But as with all things theatre, this has probably already been tried.
All this from a dream.