Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (1)

I’d booked to see a play – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead – at the theatre I used to work at.  But whereas the real venue is in a modern building, this one was a tall Victorian edifice with a steep rake on each of the four tiers.

I’d been keen enough that I came to see the show on my own – maybe it was last minute, maybe no-one else had been available – and I expected to feel fairly at home anyway since I knew the theatre and some of the staff there.  But I hadn’t been sent a ticket, only a reference number to my phone, and when I got to the entrance to the upper gallery, I couldn’t find any trace of email or text from the theatre. I kept telling the usher – a young, cynical guy with a curling lip – that I’d seen it on my phone immediately before I left the house, that I had paid, that I used to work here. My anger was rising (an anger I recognise well from real life, any time I feel I’m being patronised, disrespected, talked down to or blocked by bureaucracy).  A group of school children in their early teens and private school uniforms – green and black kilts on the girls, blazers – were lined up at the other entrance just feet away from me, and I felt them and their teachers waiting to judge me if I showed my anger or tried to demand on being let in.

The literal background for this one was that I had tried to book tickets to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the Old Vic in London, with K, to find that they were almost sold out and the few remaining would cost, if not your firstborn, then at least some small person to whom you were vaguely attached.  But I wasn’t angered by not being able to get oltickets. Fair enough, I should have got onto it as soon as I heard the show was premiering.  Somewhere else in my life – or in a lot of aspects of life – there is a recurrent, simmering anger that things are being made difficult for me somehow.

I’ve been to this dream-theatre before, I think, and looked from the entrance to the grand circle or gallery, down towards the stage.  But the floor has been absent, there was only water or a sheer drop beneath me.  I think I’ve been due either to perform there or to work as an usher, and haven’t been able to get from one part of the theatre to another.

In this dream, after being turned away by the first usher I spoke to, I saw one of the duty managers I used to know, who said she might be able to sneak me in if I waited til the show had just started.  But I found myself walking through dark corridors not being able to find my way back to the auditorium.  As I recall that, I’m reminded of a dream I had just under a year ago, when I was performing in a far larger show than I’ve done in real life…but more about that in another blog.

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Banksy’s student days (your input welcome!)

Banksy, while at Bristol University. His tutors included Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore (still played by Richard Harris) and Hagrid. Dumbledore gave him a kind of glowing, opalescent statuette which he was not to tell anyone about, “especially Minerva XX XX McGonagall” (the dream script gave her two extra middle names).

In his black hoodie and combat trousers, Banksy would climb up the outside of buildings at  night. He seemed to be fixing things – unsafe, crumbling or leaking structures – without wanting the work to be attributed to him. Maybe he just thought he’d get round to the jobs quicker than the university or city authorities would.

I often have semi-lucid dreams in which I seem to be reading a story that I’ve written; seeing a film based on my screenplay; or watching a story unfold and wondering how I’ll go about turning it into a novel. In this case, Banksy was narrating the story, and I could hear his voice, deep and distorted as it is in Exit Through the Gift Shop.  As he told me his memories, I was simultaneously / alternately watching them as an outsider, and having a discussion with him about how, together, we would write the book.

Banksy told me about a long-standing Bristolian legend, that somewhere in the city is hidden an ancient relic that would give the finder magic powers.  Many speculate but few know what the relic looks like or how to recognise it.

Did Banksy ever see the relic – or any evidence that it existed – during his nighttime climbs? “Yeah, I found it alright,” he said.  “I put it back.”

wtf, subconscious?

banksy

So, this dream features a narrative device that my subconscious often uses – watching a scene unfold only to discover that I’m writing it – and the fascination / frustration of waiting to see what my imagination will give me next, while still feeling I have limited or no control over the process. (“Murder, she watched” was another example of this.)

But since famous people, characters and locations are involved here, I’d love to know your thoughts too.  What associations do any of these hold for you?

  • Banksy
  • Graffiti and / or street art
  • Bristol
  • Bristol University in particular
  • Universities in general
  • The Harry Potter books and / or films in general
  • Dumbledore, Hagrid or McGonegall in particular

And how about these motifs?

  • A gift of something possibly magical, but secret
  • Secret names or ones that very few people know someone by
  • Old buildings in need of repair
  • A quest to find a legendary, missing relic
  • The juxtaposition of ancient and modern (or postmodern), establishment and subversiveness, global fame and local knowledge, anonymity and instant recognisability

…Or any other themes, motifs or metaphors that jump out at you?

Please feel free to comment below or send me a message; let me know what this dream content might mean for you – and of course if you’ve had any similar dreams of your own.

‘Til next time…!