I am walking around in a really lame museum with my family, bored out of my head with the displays. A middle-aged paunchy guy walks up to me and says "You oughta check out the much more interesting exhibit upstairs!" He leads me up a stairwell which opens into a large high-school type of auditorium. The seats in the back half of the room have been removed, leaving just the floor which is canted upwards towards where my guide and I stand, taking in the action.
It seems as if at least three separate productions are taking place. I recognize a MacBeth (the Weird Sisters are doing their cauldron thing for MacB and Banquo), a Tempest (Caliban is slithering around on the beach) and a Midsummer Night's Dream (poor Bottom is walking around bumping into the scenery). The casts overlap and spill into the audience seating area, and the action continues beyond and behind the "audience" to fill the room. I say "audience" because there's no telling what persons sitting in the chairs are actually there to watch, and which might at any moment pop up to shout "The King hath happily received, MacBeth / The news of thy success!" Instead of trooping "offstage," characters happily hop down from the apron when they're not in the immediate action and take a seat (or sit in someone's lap) and start chowing down popcorn and heckling the performers. I say "offstage" because it shortly becomes clear that there is no offstage. All the world's a stage, and this is the Theater of Hilarious Havoc.
I begin to walk, slowly, amazed, down the middle of the clear area at the rear of the room and try to take it all in.
Just behind where the seating area ends, I spy a woman in an elaborate faery outfit (or is it simply a faery?) playing chess against herself with an oversized board and pieces (perhaps 4' square). She is writing out her moves and announcing them grandly before sliding the pieces about. The moves she is making with the chess set have no evident link to the moves she is writing out and saying aloud.
One of the MacBeth "swordfights" has spilled off the stage and onto the seats. Yes: onto. The combatants trip nimbly about on the tops of the backs of the chairs, swinging away with their claymores and epees (one fellow is brandishing what appears to be an oversized sopresatta). I say "swordfight" because the action bears no more resemblance to actual life-and-death mayhem than the dance-cum-"gangfight" in West Side Story . It's clearly much more about exploring the fun to be had leaping from row to row as the audience members dive out of the way (or reach up and pinch a passing butt cheek) than it is about trying to hack one's opponent limb from limb.
Bottom, on his way from the stage (where he has recently been part of an exuent ) is striding purposefully up the center aisle, evidently keen to procure some popcorn from the cart that is manned by what can only be described as a male centaur is ludicrously shabby drag. However, Bottom runs afoul of the swordplay and has his donkey-head dislodged by the fellow with the sopresatta. This reveals his inner head (some kind of 50's B-movie robot-looking thing) which is in turn dislodged to reveal a human head, which in *it's* turn is knocked loose to reveal...no head at all.
At this point, I'm about maybe a third of the way into the room and five feet behind the last row of seats. The action is all around me. Bottom, scuffling around on the floor, blindly trying to retrieve and replace at least one of his heads, is helped to his feet by a beheaded Bangquo (he is holding his severed, animate head under one arm and pulls Bottom up with his other). Banquo (roaring "Off with ye! Headless is MY gig!!") spins him around and, kicking Bottom in the, ah...bottom, sends the unfortunate fellow out through an open side door leading out of the room into a hallway.
I decide to get some popcorn (it smells delicious) and settle in for a bit. Banquo waits equably in line behind me and we enjoy the scene. Once we've both procured our snack (the centaur [chewing on a cigar stub: "Call me Babs"] isn't charging for it) , Banquo and I stand side-by-side (as his free hand feeds the mouth on his head) and make commentary on the proceedings.
As a squadron of unidentifiable raffish-looking fellows swing onto the stage on ropes suspended in the wings stage left (slamming into Birnham Wood, which is marching on Dunsinane from stage right), I remember I've left my family downstairs and they're probably wondering what happened to me. (Hmm...I suppose I should wonder, too...) I bid Banquo goodbye (an awkward moment when I try to shake his hand and he's got his head in it) and head back down to the Museum of the Dull.
But -- Great Day in the Morning! I'll be coming back.
This dream is utterly RIPE for re-entry and exploration. It operates on so many levels and is so rife with possibility for learning, scouting and just plain fun that it is worth several excursions just to see all what is there. I already have done dream re-entry, which involves shamanic drumming for 10-15 minutes to go back into the dream and travel deeper into it (I joined the cast of Midsummer's Night and had low tea with Oberon and Titania, among other experiences). But it also begs for sleep-time re-entry, where I'll lie in bed with the lights out and re-imagine the dream as vividly as I can and with as much detail as possible before falling asleep.
More on this dream later...