By Douglas McElheny
This article will hopefully be an interesting follow-up to my last one, ‘There’s Color In My Keyboard,’ since it shows how a dream prompted me to finish that article and get it posted. Let’s start with the dream:
This was a multi-part dream, but it was all related to my starring in a play as a vampire. There was a part where I’m looking at myself in a mirror checking out my phony fangs. Then there was another part where I don’t have fangs, and know I need to go to the costume store to buy some so I’ll have them for the performance. In the last part of the dream, I’m actually in the audience during the curtain call, and I know I have been sitting here as an audience member watching myself give the performance as the vampire. Other actors are on stage, and I can’t remember for sure how ‘I’ came out on the stage, but I seem to recall it was by flying down from the rafters as a bat and transforming into the vampire before taking a bow. I do remember though, once ‘I’ join the other actors, five more actors, who are tall shadowy shapes, drop down from the rafters and land behind us, joining us for the curtain call. One of them falls over and stays down once he hits the stage. Afterwards there’s a shift, and I’m in the vampire costume down in the audience area talking to people who are congratulating me on my performance. One was a gay guy, and there were also two attractive young women. Someone, I think it was the gay guy, compliments me on my eyes and the women agree. I admit that I know I have beautiful eyes.
Performing in live theater was a big part of my life during my childhood and teenage years, so it’s no surprise being involved in the theater is a common dream theme for me. For a long time, I wondered what some of those dreams might mean. Within the last year or so, it came clear that, at least in some cases, theater dreams represent my creative endeavors, which are mainly writing, but video work also. That makes sense because theater was my main creative outlet growing up. I also put most of what I create on the web, so one could see how the idea of ‘performing’ would apply to putting yourself out before the public online, even though only a handful of people read this blog.
As I thought about the dream afterwards, it seemed to me this theater dream was related to the nearly completed and aforementioned article I was working on because in it I’m basically putting the vampire part of myself on public display. Now in this particular article, I was trying to show how I was allowing sexual/romantic feelings to color my email exchanges with a business associate, Alex. At the time of the dream, the article had been lying idle for a week or so, since I wanted to have Donny take a look at a few small changes I’d made to it. But as he was quite busy with other things, I didn’t push the issue. So I took the dream as a message from my inner to get Donny to have one last proofread, and to then post the article. So I dusted off the article, and actually ended up reworking some of it a bit more extensively, as well as putting the finishing touches on a GIF I created to accompany it. I asked Donny if he would take a final look at it, which he did, and then I posted it.
So if I’m on target here with the meaning of this dream, then the beginning of the dream, where I’m looking at my fangs, and thinking about how I need to buy fangs, would seem to be indicative of the last minute re-working of the article. And if that’s the case, the curtain call and the end of the dream must have to do with the process of the article after it was posted, and the way readers felt about it. Dreams often exaggerate things however, as I often point out. So the actual reaction of the readers might not have been as glowing as the praise I received after the curtain call in the dream. The post got three likes though, so perhaps at least one of those readers felt like they got something valuable out of the article. It also seems possible to me that the praise after the curtain call may just be an acknowledgement by my inner for a job well done.
Regarding the other characters that were part of the curtain call, I’m not sure what they represent, though it seems to me the shadowy figures probably symbolize obscure or hostile forces that are having their play or influence during the sort of sexual/romantic indulgences that I describe in the article. I never mentioned the possible involvement of these kinds of forces in the article, and I only briefly brought out the idea that allowing these movements to have their play could possibly be harmful to Alex, that they might still have an effect on her even though she’s on the other side of the globe. But the dream I think tells it like it is, showing not only that it’s a vampiric thing to do, but also by revealing the presence of these shadowy hostile elements that are involved.
Perhaps the example I’ve shared above might not be enough to get the reader on the same wavelength as me regarding this idea that some of my theater dreams represent my creative work, and the placing of it on the internet. So I would like to share one more clear example. This one happened back in July 2018 on the night following the posting of my article ‘You Have To Read Between The Letters.’
I’m in a production of Peter Panstarring as Peter Pan. It’s towards the end of the performance, and I remember giving a short monologue, and then going outside and flying up to the top of a building, and then flying back to the stage for the curtain call. The theater is only about 15% full. We don’t get a standing ovation, but the people are giving a lot of applause. I tell the people in the audience to bring their friends to the performances we are having over the next few days.
As I said before, not many people read this blog, so that would fit with having a small audience in the dream for my ‘performance’. And perhaps the few people who read this article liked it, and that’s reflected in the dream by the hearty applause. Or, as I postulated about the vampire dream, maybe this dream is also or even primarily just giving an acknowledgement of a job well done on my part by my inner being. Here again I can’t say for sure.
I’m also unsure as to why Peter Pan was chosen to represent this article, which was about a dream that was an example of very specific and blatant guidance about a book I should read. Peter Pan is an adventurer though, and his world is one of dreams and fantasy, so I’m guessing it has something to do with that. Perhaps he represents my ongoing dream exploration, which, in its own way, is an adventure with new discoveries happening all the time. I don’t think it has anything to do with being mischievous or shirking responsibility in some area of my life, though I can see how Peter Pan couldrepresent those things in a dream.
Regardless of whether or not my speculation is on the money as far as the symbolism of Peter Pan goes, I hope the reader can follow my logic here and see how the symbolism of performing and theater could represent one’s creative work and putting oneself out in the public eye creatively and artistically. As for myself, as you can see, I’m convinced enough that I was able to take the first dream as guidance and finish an article.
In the future I hope to have more insight into other things a theater dream could represent. It hasn’t come up recently, but I’ve had a recurring theme in theater dreams over the years that a performance is imminent, but I’ve missed most or all of the rehearsals, and I’m not sure what that relates to. Perhaps dreams like that are related to my creative work also, and indicate times where I haven’t given something I was working on enough attention, and then finished it up in a hurry. I don’t know, but I will be paying more attention the next time I have one of these dreams. There is definitely more to uncover here.