"Anyway, Um…"

This audio piece was created for The Dream Lab – a fundraiser for Theatre Junction GRAND. Five sound designers – Peter Moller, Allison Lynch, Chris Dadge, Tim Uliac, and myself – each created a 2-minute soundscape based on the idea of dreams. On the night, audience members were walked into a dark theatre space by actors dressed as orderlies. They then laid back on one of five gurneys, each of which had a set of headphones. Each audience member then head a different sound design with the hope that the experience created discussion afterwards.

My contribution – “Anyway, Umm…” is inspired by HOW we describe our dreams to our friends and loved ones, and how the tension of the waking world and dreaming world is analogous to the tension between inner space and outer space. Please listen with HEADPHONES.

I would like to thank the brave people who shared their dreams for this project – which I discovered was an incredibly intimate thing to do. They are:

Linda Cunningham
Mackenzie MacDonald
Ntara Curry
Kristin Swirles
Paige Lansky
Tim Ford
Lynn Eaton
Jesselle Lauren
Kris Vanessa Teo
Liz Kirkland
Daphne Jackman
Lauren Acheson
Lauren Krugel
Nico Brennan

With special thanks to Guy de Charteret, Karen Ball, and Cody Harper.

Below is the text of a blog post: five questions about dreams, answered by me.

1. What will you show us at The Dream Factory?
Your dreams, my friends’ dreams. The sound of inner space, the sound of outer space. A binaural beat salad. Patterns, correlation and coincidence. A hypnogogic pop’n’lock.

 2. If you had a dream for the Calgary Arts scene, what would it be?
In it, the theatre which is also an art gallery which is also a street corner which is also my backyard is filled with every citizen of our city, all watching with one eye hidden behind a magpie feather. As the show begins, the audience members breathe in the magpie feathers and hold their breath. The show becomes faster and faster as the audience slowly exhale thousands of birds. The birds nest amongst the lighting instruments hung in the rafters. After a moment, the birds shake themselves as if in a birdbath. It starts to rain. On the seats, on the boards, on the people. And the audience and the players are no longer separated as audience and player. And in that moment, the need to create and to see others’ creations, the need to be understood and heard, it takes form and stands up as if human. It looks skyward, which is also into our eyes.Then we wake up, check Instagram, and start the coffee maker.

3. Do you have a recurring dream?
I don’t. My nights are pretty dark. I know that everyone dreams every night, so I must too, but I only remember one or two dreams in a year. But those one or two tend to be doozies. Exhibit A: Question 4. 

4. What did you last dream about?
I for real had this dream last week:“Someone I knew well but didn’t recognize cut off my fingers with a sword. I don’t know if it was an accident or not. It took place in a hotel that was also a bookstore. I tried to reattach two of my fingers. The entire event was all very casual.” According to the internet – and as we all know, if it’s on the internet it *HAS to be true – my dream means the following:Fingers being lost: you have anxiety about your ability to accomplish a demanding task. The situation you find yourself in presently is dominating you.Sword: your strength, your ambition, and your willpower. It is your desire to hold a position of prestige, authority and distinction.Bookstore: your gathered life experience and memories. Other peoples’ life experiences and memories. Ideas you are considering, attempting to find inside yourself. Also, the many and varied opinions of others. Confrontations of the opinions of others against your search for who you are and what the meaning of your life might be.Hotel: You are in a time of transition, new state of mind. A shift in personal identity, a move away from old habits and way of thinking. You are attempting to escape your old life.If anyone knows what I’m up to these days, they’ll recognize the profundity of this. 

5. Name 5 things or people you are inspired by.
1. Annie Druyan and Carl Sagan falling in love while making a pair of golden records that were blasted into space and will outlive our sun. To quote Ms. Druyan:
“I had asked Carl if those putative extraterrestrials of a billion years from now could conceivably interpret the brain waves of a meditator. Who knows? A billion years is a long, long time, was his reply. On the chance that it might be possible why don't we give it a try? Two days after our life-changing phone call [the call in which Druyan and Sagan confessed their love to each other for the first time], I entered a laboratory at Bellevue Hospital in New York City and was hooked up to a computer that turned all the data from my brain and heart into sound. I had a one-hour mental itinerary of the inforatmation I wished to convey. I began by thinking about the history of Earth and the life it sustains. To the best of my abilities I tried to think something of the history of ideas and human social organization. I thought about the predicament that our civilization finds itself in and about the violence and poverty that make this planet a hell for so many of its inhabitants. Toward the end I permitted myself a personal statement of what it was like to fall in love.”

2. The 210+ past, present, and future members of Parliament-Funkadelic. We want the funk, but we won’t ever give it up.

3. Stanton Friedman, Jenny Randles, Philip Coppens, Graham Hancock, Erich von Däniken, Budd Hopkins, Nick Pope, Richard Dolan, Linda Moulton Howe, Steven Greer: the great UFOlogists of our time.

4. Nate DiMeo and the production / editorial staff at the Memory Palace podcast.

5. Journalists.

© 2017 A. deGroot