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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Theater dreams

It is as if my sleeping mind acts out each night Shakespeare's reminder that “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players”: for years, most of my dreams were theater dreams. These take place within a theater, or at least within view of one; they are occasionally as far-flung as the parking lot. Characters interact in the wings, behind rows of darkened audience, in green rooms, dressing rooms, running through back hallways, dodging the fly, dangling from catwalks, or best, onstage. I stand reciting, or forgetting, making up lines. My fellow actors behave unpredictably, and the audience laughs, jeers, or is rapt. For costumes we have jeweled gowns, street clothes, or none at all, wearing only metaphors, usually cliched. I rush to change from one to the next. The plots sing of stress, searching, racing toward curtains, but also of mystical camaraderie, being part of a company, illuminated from a dozen angles. The dream itself is theater, and even more ephemeral, the stagings hung within a life whose player is forever seeking her role, fumbling for lines, and when she's lucky, acting with the creative energy of the largest theater, the cosmos. Beyond that theater's doors, beyond its lonely parking lot, we don't know who could be dreaming us, or when they may awaken.

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