Monday, 2 March 2015

Dream 374

'The French Language Chinese Play'
Dream date: 26 February 2015
I was in a large room which was filled with tables containing clothing, makeup and props for a theatre production. I had been cast in a lead role in a play which was being performed, yet I knew nothing about the role. RT - a colleague - was assisting the director, who was a middle-aged white female dream character, wearing long flowing robes. RT told me that I had to get into the role because we were rehearsing. I was handed a small, orange leather-bound book which contained the play/script. The play was set in China - I think it was set in the past. I could not really understand what the play was about because I had never heard of it before. 

The book was opened at the right page for the first scene of the play. My opening line was 'Enchanton Dan' (pronounced 'on-shont -on darn'), a phrase which was supposedly in French, and meant 'how are you?' I wondered why a Chinese play was in French language, and went to the corner of the room to look for my costume. I realised that this large room was in fact the gym of my former high school. I found a pair of royal blue sandals - known as 'Chinese Laundry-style' sandals (which were in style a few years ago - I owned a white pair which were similar to these in real-life, which I bought in an emergency when I broke the heel of my shoes in Camden, London). These were in a bag of clothing leaned against the climbing rails which were mounted against the wall. I noticed that the buckle of the sandals was ripped off (this happened to my actual real-life sandals after a lot of wear-and-tear). I was annoyed, because these sandals would have been perfect for my role in the play.

RT came over to me and told me I needed to get ready to go on stage. I panicked and asked her why, since I assumed that this was everyone's first rehearsal and no-one was familiar with the play, nor knew their lines. We hadn't practiced anything, other than the opening lines of the first scene. RT told me that it was the first performance in a couple of hours. However, she said that everyone would be able to read their lines from the script during the performance. I still felt panicked because I can't speak fluent French, nor do a passable French accent. The middle-aged director was getting impatient with me, telling me to hurry up and rehearse, and all the other actors - in full Chinese costume, were standing around waiting for me. I opened the book, trying to find the right page. However, the book was not paginated and had no contents page/index. It contained several plays - all of them by Anton Chekhov. No matter which page I turned to, I was always looking at a script for either The Cherry Orchard or Uncle Vanya - although Uncle Vanya seemed to be a Chekhovian re-write of Shakespeare's The Tempest, which further confused me in my stressed state. These 'Chekhov plays' were in English. I could not find any single page with French language on it to indicate the play I was supposed to be performing (I didn't even know the title of the French/Chinese play!) 

I soon became very aware that I was literally unable to find the French/Chinese play we were to perform and knew that I had no chance familiarising myself with it before we were due on stage.  It was if it had never been in the book at all, as I am sure that I checked every single page, with no avail. Further, I knew that I would not have a script to use on stage to enable me to just read the lines. I thought I might have to just make up the lines and improvise, but this would ruin the play and the other actors would not be able to perform around me. I had no conception or thought in my mind of asking anyone to help me out.

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