Friday, June 13, 2014

Bottom's Dream

 “I have had a most rare vision.  I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was.  Man is but an ass if he go about t’expound this dream…”  -Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night’s Dream

This week we walked into the wet grass up at the university to take our publicity pictures.  I carried a tall ladder up on my shoulder about 2km to the tree by the Luce Chapel.  I've been eyeing this tree every day on my jogs across campus for this very picture.
 “Methought I was- there is no man can tell me what.  Methought I was and methought I had- but man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I had…”  -Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night’s Dream

I tell my students...about a year ago I was coming out of the desert in Saudi along the Yemen border and came back to Taiwan. I met the Director and the President of the school and I started thinking about this class...how I didn't know who the students were or what ability they had...what their experiences or limitations were...I only knew that together we were going to perform Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
 “The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was…”  -Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night’s Dream

We started by studying stories...how they work and why we need them.  What the role of the artist is in our life...and how narratives become the living lines of scar tissue in our lives.  We studied Tall Tales of fantastic people because I wanted them to see that the impossible is possible...that one must only try... that you HAD TO TRY!  No matter what... to do something impossible...to become LEGENDARY!
“I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream.  It shall be called ‘Bottom’s Dream’, because it hath no bottom.”  -Nick Bottom, Midsummer Night’s Dream

I told the students how I watch them...how they talk with their friends and raise their hand in class...that I've been secretly casting since the first moment of school back in August...all the way through our monologues in December and the City Drama Championships in February...until now.  That now, this week...with our dress rehearsals and photo shoots...all of this, is the fruition of a year's plan in action.  A year ago...I was planning this week...right now!  They stare at me, wide-eyed in disbelief.  Fundamental Disbelief... but then the realization comes over them.  They understand.  They look at all we've done and been through as a group...and they see we've been dreaming together all along.

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