We'd like to take a minute to see if you can make up a short story using just those three words - it may reveal something latent...
Ever had a dream you’ve never understood? So have we. But never fear: Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are here to make us feel really weird about it! Okay, that might be a bit obtuse, but these two men, just stepping clear of the 1800s , commendably took us two steps forward in understanding psychology, consciousness and self– and unsurprisingly a few steps back with attitudes to women - shakes fist – but, though a no-good pair of scamps, they did a lot in their collective fields to change attitudes to psychology. As we prepare the next outing of our half folk-story half-nightmare take on Strindberg’s Dream Play, we thought we’d indulge in a little light head-shrinking. Oh yes, hold on: This is a Baz-is-going-clever-Blog, with the amazing, super-smart help and brain of Bazzer, our very own PJ! Oh yes, we are taking this seriously. Strap in.
One thing the Jung and Freud camps seem to agree on (those yearly get-togethers must be really really fun) is the idea that dreams mean stuff. (Bear with us, we’re easing into this ‘clever’ stuff) more specifically (told you) wish fulfilment – this sounds like Aladdin etc, but basically its your subconscious calling out your repression, your hidden desire to resolve something or a latent desire to act on a wish that we usually have a better handle on in the sunlight. Jung raised Freud one further though and introduced the idea of Archetypes into the game: for example the mother-son archetype, the husband-wife – all wrapped up in a nice package of the Collective Unconscious – or, Social Expectations. Baz, as a rule doesn’t have much time for these Expectations and likes to subvert them when we can – experimental theatre and all that, but the fact that Jung wants you to experience your displeasure, confront your desire, your want or resentment – now you’re talking our language.
Freud’s language and imagery for interpreting dreams goes hand in hand with practicing theatre – the idea that the dream is a wish fulfilment or rehearsal for the real thing – it’s nearly too neat: Freud’s theories of signifiers for example, an image or symbol that pops up in your dreams with multiple possible rationalisations, in disguise, if you will and requires a closer look to be interpreted. In a dream state you’re clearly watching the action, taking in a scene and participating – and is there nothing closer to the act of being an audience member and interpreting the action onstage? He may have been onto something, this Freud bloke.
But then Jung had to throw his spanner in the works (if you read into that, shame on you) and asserted that his Archetypes relay much of the information of repressed thoughts, desires or wants through a set of what he called dream ‘symbols’ or ‘figures’. An innocuous object like a cane or snake could be…interpreted as, er, something else. (you see where we are going with this, move on) much as an old woman, or a shadow have a specific attributed meaning, in the theatre world this puts Baz in mind of Brecht’s Stock Characters he used in his writing – and our assertion that an audience must first understand what we are subverting before we subvert it.
Phew. Make sense? No, to us either. But it is just fascinating to learn about and adapt to our theatrical processes. Our take on Dream Play relies on that universal experience of dreaming, being outside yourself looking in, that intense, often frightening, often joyful experience of feeling so purely. We’ve all experienced it: it crosses,cultural, linguistic and generational divides. And it can be pretty freaky to be trapped in a game of Super Mario I think we all can agree.
Oh man, after all that knowledge let us destress with a bit of psyche-comedy: Mr Stephen Fry’s joke-non-joke on QI: (p.s slightly NSFW)
Keep on dreamin'
Really, really thanks to PJ for all her hard work and knowledge- the kind of clever where you're not intimidated but want to start reading all books immediately x