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Dream Play

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of Serotonin: Baz Science Lesson No. 2

Arthur Wardle, RBA Fellow, 1894. Incidentally, how we expect you to feel after reading our latest blog. 

Arthur Wardle, RBA Fellow, 1894. Incidentally, how we expect you to feel after reading our latest blog. 

Hello again Bazzers! It’s time for us to delve yet again into the murky world of sleep, dreams and just exactly why you keep dreaming of a cactus in a sombrero dancing to ‘Walking in the Air’ by Aled Jones (actually there is nothing we can do to help you with that, you might be on your own there: we suggest you get that sorted. Pronto.) But it is weird isn’t it? It’s not just us – right? Sort of lying unconscious, sort of paralysed, for at least eight hours, Every night.

Freaked out yet?

Well never fear – Baz and our resident brain-box PJ are back with facts about sleep that are more awesome than the cool side of the pillow – so settle down under the blanket with your hot water bottle and your CD of whale noises and let us tell you all about it…So. What is sleep? We all spend, people have theorised, a third of our entire lives doing it. Even educated fleas do it. (Sorry) Basically, it’s a restorative natural impulse, and good night will usually encompass the three states/cycles in the brain and set you up for the day: Wakefulness (where your brain bids you a good night, releases Orexin neurons to moan at you if you decide to just watch one more episode of Homeland) Rapid Eye Movement (when your eyes are going crazy and you are literally all up in that high speed car chase with Scooby Doo) to Non-Rapid Eye Movement  (that weird Inception-like place where not much is happening but what is, is confusing – sorry Chris Nolan, bit harsh?)  It’s in that REM state though, that the drama happens – REM Behaviour Disorders, or sleepwalking/fighting/Irish dancing occur, and the normal state of paralysis is completely bypassed. There’s also the cheery prospect of Narcolepsy, or Sleep Apnea – two disorders that greatly affect the individual’s life in ways that show just how important and all-pervading sleep can be.

Of course, there are your bog-standard Nightmares too – and this is what Baz is particularly interested in with our Dream Play – it is one of the few things like breathing, laughing and crying that we all share, sure, but you can’t tell Baz that you’ve not had that naked at school/embarrassing dream about a teacher episode. Well, it can go even deeper than that, and into something called Dream Reality Confusion – which , like it suggests, can make things get really weird. And lucid. To which we here at Baz say – awesome. And “can you write that down for us?”
 

This kind of information, this science, is just as important to Baz’s vision as the work it produces for the simple reason that it’s fascinating –  kind of miraculous and every day simultaneously, providing real insight into what it means to be human on an individual basis: subconscious desire, an unknown ambition, an anxitety you just don’t face during the day – and it is one of our main aims to provide enlightened, important and educational work to our audiences. Even about sleep. Plus is cool to know that the Melatonin chemical is the fun one, and the Serotonin one wakes you up. Pull that out at dinner parties.
 

Most interestingly, however, these cycles of different sleep patterns occur roughly every hour and a half, signalling the next big change. Ninety minutes. Kind of like the length of a play…

 

Just leaving that there.

Sleep well! Dream it up! (Baz dreamt of lighthouses all last night. No matter the situation.  Callback to Aldeburgh last year where Baz devised Dream Play in around the South Lookout at HighTide, perhaps?  Nonetheless, it did make a nice feature of that leisure centre, though.)

Sleep tight! (anyone else suddenly really sleepy now?)

 

And thanks again to the Almighty PJ making our lives, blogs and dreams just that little bit easier to understand.

 

Baz x
 

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Shrinking, Slips, Strindberg - Baz goes Clever

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.

Sit yourself down, can you elaborate on why you think your mother is a hamster? / Freud's        real couch in Vienna at the Freud museum.   

Sit yourself down, can you elaborate on why you think your mother is a hamster? / Freud's        real couch in Vienna at the Freud museum.

 

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'

Baz xx

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

 

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