Monday, July 19, 2004

Bad Dreams

King Lear in Ashland was not bad, but neither was it special.  Basically a workmanlike production with good acting, poor directing and passable design elements.  Watching it brought back many bad memories of grad school at the University of Iowa where I studied from 1982-85. 

Thus I should not be surprised by the nightmare I experienced afterwards.  In the nightmare I was to direct a play but I did not have a copy of the script.  Moreover, I was late for the first rehearsal because I had been to a doctor's appointment and the doctor had told me that I had terminal cancer and could expect to die within weeks. Should I continue with the project, or not?  My direct faculty supervisor was Bob Hedley, whose appearance in the dream no doubt represented intractable, perverse authority.  Hedley was the chairman of the department while I was a student at Iowa, my memories of him are not fond. 

When I arrived at the theatre to begin rehearsal, I found that another student had stepped in and was directing in my place.  The actors were busy putting together the blocking of the production, I still couldn't tell what it was supposed to be, although the set looked like equal parts Durer and Brueghel, a kind of medieval horror show, with a great gothic castle on top of a mountain, and the mountain slopes coming down to the floor of the stage. 

This is a typical anxiety nightmare--though I have rarely dreamed of being ill with a terminal disease like cancer.  Bob Hedley's appearances in my dreams have been rare.  Historically, he's more likely to have appeared in my daydreams, but even those have, mercifully, dwindled in the past few years.  Obviously, his presence symbolized an extreme perceived loss of personal control.  The disease also signified a loss of control.  In a strange way, however, this may be very good news.

Why?  Because my ego is the greatest barrier to my continued artistic success.  To the extent I can limit its haranguing, belitting presence in my psyche, the greater the chance that I can move out of this block and finish my novel.  If my ego is making an appearance to my subconscious, then it might be because it's afraid of being undermined and forgotten. 

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