texts

She is driving around and she’s thinking, “All right I’m still alive, now what am I going to do?” So she figures she’ll go down and rent a movie. So she goes down to the video store but then she can’t remember the title of the movie she wants. So she’s describing the movie to the guy. “Yeah, you know it’s that black and white movie, it’s on colour film.” “I think it stars Nicholas Cage and Hayley Mills. It’s that movie where the theatre becomes a secret place for organized meetings between two choreographers who are trying to un-do each other’s unconscious. There’s some stuff in between before the country loses the war because they accidently made their submarines out of Styrofoam and they won’t go under the water.” And the guy is just blankly looking at her and as she says this to him she’s realizing it’s not a movie she saw, it’s a dream she had. She’s thinking, “My God I’m trying to rent one of my own dreams.” (Which would be pretty cool actually.) Then the guy says to her, “That’s not a movie you saw, that’s a dream you had.” She says, “How do you know?” He says, “Because you were in here last week trying to rent the same thing.” She says, “Alright, let me know when you get it in.”

In Sweet Dreams Are Made, Simone Aughterlony and Isabelle Schad propose the theatre as being at once the dream box and the setting of a dream itself. Visions and experiences become part of the negotiation of perspectives. But what happens to these images - with their bodies, characters, narratives, sensations and emotions when perceived through the uncanny light of sleep coherence and the half-logic of dream phenomenon? Sweet Dreams Are Made invites the spectator to the theatre to be alone together – cultivating a sense of being the dream observer whilst simultaneously generating the dream reality and its environment.

Notes by Sasa Bozic:

O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,

Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance

How can we know the dancer from the dance?

W.B.Yeats: Among School Children

Sweet dreams are made endeavours to engage with the act of dreaming as a starting point for researching theatre as a medium. It does not approach or try to explain the nature of dreams from a theoretical or psychoanalytical background but invites the spectator to indulge in the sensation of dreaming while perceiving and understanding that experience as created through the machinery of the theatre act itself.

Throughout the process of Sweet dreams are made we explored the common knowledge we share of dreams, we attempted to retell the dream experience. In dreams as in theatre the impossibility of truly sensing the body offers writings and reflections towards new corporeality. This disempowered body becomes a source of endless and ever-growing narrations. On the other hand, the exposed and materialized body is perceived only as a Chimera: We have been invited to listen to its non-human pulse. The performers try to find expression for their dream experience knowing that in the process of communicating it will vanish, it will remain an enigma. They are held captive like modern day Sirens, arrested in the fullness of their lust while narratives skip across their bodies. The stories (naturally) fall apart; motives, logic, and drives become elusive - leaving flashes and halos of meaning.

Balancing on the verge of the inexpressible, Sweet dreams are made becomes an essay on a particular kind of theatre; one that avoids the accustomed babble and prattle, offering instead a mindful approach to movement in dialogue with intimate whispering. Its concept accentuates the similarity of the spectator’s perception in the theatre and in dreams: the phenomenon whereby what comes into focus is not necessarily what is represented. The result is a complex construct that ceaselessly underlines the gravity of the question: how can we forget that we are in the theatre while being manipulated by all its means?

Sasa Bozic

Published 31 August 2009