Wednesday, March 01, 2006


The play was to open that very night, and I was to act as one of the leads. The character was a good fit for me. I was costumed in a black shirt, black pants, black boots, and a black beret. I was also to wear black-framed horn-rim eyeglasses, and I would play a philosophical type.

But I had not yet read the play nor learned my lines.

I flipped through a copy of the script, but I couldn't even find my entry points. And none of my speaking lines. So I just decided to wing it.

As this was a play with occasional musical numbers, I had a song. Of course I didn't know what it was, so when the pit band began and the conductor cued me I improvised a plaintive lament in a minor key, singing with the shattered passion and pianissimo yearning of Blake's wild tiger confined to a depressing zoo, my voice moving in a range narrow as the opening measures of the Rachmaninoff Third Piano Concerto:

This is my philosophy,
its time has come.

It is no philosophy
just for me,
It is no philosophy
for two or three.

It is a philosophy of one.
It is love.

The other players on stage and in the pit were aghast. The audience, however, was relatively clueless as to the improvisatory nature of my dirge, and they came around to the mournful tune and clapped. Routinely enough, like they wanted things to move along to whatever was supposed to happen next.

I woke up with the tune in my head still.

It was a work anxiety dream. I've had these ever since I can remember. But this one had a happier ending than most.

Often I wake up perplexed and exhausted by dreams of impossible workloads, shifting responsibilities and priorities, and interpersonal conflicts gone unresolved. Then I go off to work where it's just the same but real and wakeful.

We sat on the couch and drank our coffee, sharing dreams, before the young one was up and about. My spouse has been going through a series of death-avoidance dreams. I listened to their dream, then recounted mine and sang my sad little cavatina.

It was a cloudy morning with the smell of rain in the air, but none came.


enigma4ever said...

You had APPLAUSE in your dream????!!!! that is so amazing....I am envious...

may said...

i guess we can't escape reality, even in our dreams. at least yours sounded like an ego booster :)