Acting Your Dreams: Using Acting Techniques to Interpret Your Dreams

BOOK: Acting Your Dreams: Using Acting Techniques to Interpret Your Dreams
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Acting your dreams:

Using Acting Techniques
to Interpret Your Dreams

By: Ben Tousey

 

 

Acknowledgments

I would like to
thank those who have been so supportive to me through the years.

My biggest
thanks go to my mom, Sharon, who has been so supportive of me, and of my life.
To a large degree, I am who I am because of her willingness to make huge
sacrifices for the sake of her children. When times were tough, she raised us
with “an ear toward Heaven,” and I’m grateful for it.

 

I would also
like to thank my sister Anna. Anna has always been the person that could be
trusted with anything. Those who know her respect her for her wisdom and her
diplomacy. She has always been more than a sister to me, she’s a friend.

 

I’d like to
thank her husband Brendan. You’ve been very good for her, and you’ve made her
happy. To that you get my eternal gratitude. You’re also a hell of an artist.

 

Much of my
writing was done in a place where I could still be around people, but have my
privacy was well. There were people there who took such good care of me that I
honestly don’t how I could have written this without them:

Amanda, Bobby,
Kris, Randy, Maurice, Meghan, Slade, and Tye.

 

I would also
like to send out my very best to Drew. I’ve loved our chats, and I wish the
best for you in your life.

 

And Meghan and
John, our Tini nights are the highlight of my week.

 

Also by Ben
Tousey

 

The Haunting of Holden Castle

Left Out: What to do if You’re Left
Behind or Left Below

My Egypt: Why I Left the Ex-Gay Movement

The Eye of the Morning
:
Book I in the Eye of the Morning
Series

God’s Madmen
:
Book II in the Eye of the Morning
Series

The Children of the Night
: Book III in the Eye of the Morning
Series

The Warrior

 

Acting Your
Dreams

An Actor’s
Guide to Dream Interpretation

©2003 by Ben
Tousey

All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information contact Yhabbut
Publishers

 

 

 

The Late Night Show

 

Every night
after you go to sleep you become the star of a major motion picture. Scene by
scene you are literally part of a drama that far surpasses any movie. In this
movie, you’re the star, but unlike any other movie, your mind and body are
involved to such a degree that your brain is convinced that it’s actually
happening. No matter how bizarre the situation or the images, your brain sees
them as real, and when you wake up you may find yourself sweating from the
fright, or still trying to escape some unknown pursuer. Once you wake up from
these powerful major motion pictures, you may find yourself still haunted by
the images or feelings you experienced in your dream. These images can haunt
you for years, or in some cases, the rest of your life. As a result, you may
look up your dream images in a dream dictionary only to be disappointed. The
dream dictionary told you that the snake in your dream was a sign of sexual
potency, but the way it coiled around you and tried to slither up your leg left
you feeling anything but sexual. Why not look at your dream as it is… a movie. And
in doing so, use the same techniques that actors use to understand the
characters they play. Dreams will come, and you will find them both fascinating
and frightening. So why not get to know them in a whole new way, by Acting Your
Dreams.

Introduction:

 

All of us
dream. Whether we remember them or not, we will have several dreams during the
course of the night. Even those who say they don't dream actually do. They may
remember a feeling, a sensation, or even a brief scene… but they will dream.
It's inescapable. During any given night, about every ninety minutes, a human
being will experience as many as five nocturnal visits to the land where
anything can happen: from an Egyptian mummy in a tutu singing "I Got You
Babe" with Beavis and Butthead, to elephants wearing sweatpants eating butterscotch
ripple while vacuuming the living room with their trunk.

 

The land of
dreams and dreaming is a fantastic place, but also a confusing place. Why are
those elephants eating butterscotch ripple ice cream? What about those Egyptian
mummies in tutus? Sometimes an image like this, which should be funny, can
frighten us in such a way that the memory will haunt us for days, weeks, years,
or in some cases, our whole lives.

 

Dream images
have haunted mankind since the dawn of civilization. It was the early Egyptians
who first started talking about these "messages from the gods." The
first written dreams—that we know of so far—were recorded in 4000 B.C.E., and
the first dream diary was created in ancient Egypt. But the Egyptians weren't
the only society interested in dreams. Dream records and dream diaries have
been found in every empire from the dawn of civilization.

 

These images
have hunted us, haunted us, inspired us, and frightened us out of our wits.
Even in today’s technological age of enlightenment we are just as perplexed by
them. Thanks to the work of Sigmund Freud and then Carl Jung, and their
revolutionary work with dream interpretation, we have become even more scientific
in how we approach our dreams.

 

Freud wasn’t
the first “scientist” to believe that dreams could be understood or that they
played a part in human health. That belief goes as far back as the Greek
physician Hypocrites who believed that dreams could show us how to heal the
body when it was sick. Since Freud and Jung, many other dreamers have made
great strides in the realm of the dreamscape. Some of their dream theories are
scientific, some psychological, and some spiritual or even mystical, but they
all reveal a little more about dreams and dreaming.

 

For a long time
it seemed that the only way to fully understand our dreams was to spend long
hours with a qualified therapist doing concentrated dream work. Thanks to Gayle
Delaney, Jeremy Taylor, Ann Faraday, Robert Moss, and the many others who have
devoted their life to dreaming, the common person gained more access to their
dreams than ever before. But pop culture, with all its books and self-help
knowledge, hasn't made the dream any easier to understand. In our modern society
there is a cornucopia of dream dictionaries, each attempting to tell us what
our dream symbol means, but most of us have been left cold at the dictionary's
definition. The dictionary may say that a snake in your dreams represents
"sexual power or potency," but the snake crawling down your shirt
last night could be anything but sexual. Then again it could. Either way the
dictionary couldn’t tell you much about the context around that dream image
because it doesn’t know your personal relations with that particular symbol. No
dream dictionary can ever know what a snake means to you.

 

Despite the
seeming difficulty, our desire to understand our dreams continues to build even
though we don’t quite know why. Even the most cynical person will, at one time
or another, wish they could know what really happened to them in the middle of
the night.

 

The Talmud
says, "An uninterpreted dream is like an unopened letter from God."
An average dreamer would ask cynically, “Isn't that great?” It does seem a
little ironic. God sends us a letter, but the letter is in code. A lot of good
a coded letter is going to do us, especially if we don’t know the code. Sure we
recognize who or what the characters are, but what they're doing in our dreams
makes absolutely no sense. So we go on a quest to crack that code, and we learn
that the code might not be as difficult to break as we may have previously
thought.

Why Acting?

 

Modern citizens
love movies, the greatest phenomenon in storytelling in the history of humankind.
How many of us have held our breath during a scary movie, so terrified that we
could barely watch what was going to happen next? How many times have we jumped
when something unexpected startled us? How many times has we felt embarrassed
for a character who found themselves in an awkward situation?

 

What about a
really good drama? Sometimes, despite all our efforts otherwise, we find
ourselves fighting emotions and casually reaching toward our face to wipe off a
rogue tear before someone sees. Somehow, through the course of the movie, we grew
so attached to the characters and their plight that we couldn't help ourselves.

 

For others,
there's nothing like a belly laugh. Sometimes a movie becomes a cult classic
such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail. To this day, no matter where I am,
every other person I meet is able to quote the movie almost line by line.

 

There are so
many genres as we all know: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Action/Adventure,
Documentary, and the list goes on. All of these (the good ones at least) have
one thing in common: we believe them… or we believe their premise. Even if it
starts out “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” we believe and relate
to what the actors on the screen are going through. That's what makes movies so
powerful.

 

The actor knows
how to create for us a character that is so compelling that, whether we like
them or not, we can't help but believe them. It's that kind of persuasion that
convinces us that an actor is staring at a huge space ship called the Death
Star when in reality they're looking at a blue wall in which the Death Star was
added later in a special effects room. We believed that those castaways were
running away from massive dinosaurs in Jurassic Park when they were only
running from an imagined creature in the director's mind.

 

Believe it or
not, those actors go through a lot of work to make you and I believe that they
are the persons they’re portraying. Each script involves a certain analyzation
process that allows them to create that character. Since dreams are so much
like movies, and we are all actors in them, what better way to learn to
understand than to use some of those techniques to breathe life to our own
characters?

 

I won’t be
covering the analyzation processes here because it’s not necessary. In this
book all you need for your characterization are the more creative techniques.
So let's approach this other Hollywood, where we are the stars, the directors,
and the supporting cast, with the excitement of a real movie star.

The Purpose of this Workbook

 

The goal of
this workbook is to take some of the confusion out of dream interpretation and
to embark on our own Star Trek by using some of the very same techniques that
our favorite actors use to identify with their characters. To do it right, we
will have to look at our dreams through the all-important “eyes of a child.”
And what makes a child's mind so incredible? It's imaginative, open, and
running at mach speed in an attempt to keep up with the millions of bits of
information being presented to it every second of every day.

 

This book can
be done in a small group, or alone. I recommend the small group because the
involvement with other dreamers helps keep us creative, connected, and
interested. It also motivates us just a little more when the time to be
creative is actually sanctioned. Another reason to consider a group is the
thoughts and ideas of others can enhance the thoughts and ideas we have of
ourselves. These ideas combine so that we can build a powerful kinship with our
own Dreamwright, and with our fellow dreamers. (In this book, we will use the
term Dreamwright to describe our dream’s Playwright.)

 

It sometimes
does us good to see things outside ourselves. If we’re caught in the middle of
a struggle, all we see is the struggle. Our friends and more objective
observers can offer us insights that we might not have thought of because we
were too close to the struggle. When we work in a group, all participants can
watch and glean from each other, can practice with each other, as well as learn
and develop the skills that they will find invaluable.

 

When dreamers
meet together in a group, I recommend each dreamer be very careful not to
enforce their ideas of what their fellow dreamer might be experiencing. This is
called projection, and it will do less to help our fellow dreamers if we’re
projecting our own stuff into our partners in dreaming. The dreamer will know
if an experience is real based on a sudden feeling of “Aha.” This “Aha” is a
gut feeling, a realization that a dreamer gets when something suddenly makes
sense. It’s that light bulb above the head that says “idea” in the comic
strips. It’s the name on the tip of our tongue that we finally remember. Suddenly
the information sinks in, and the dreamer knows “this is true.” This is the
only measure a dreamer can use to measure the truth of a dream experience.

 

It is also
possible that you may have an “Aha” experience while working with someone
else’s dream. This is what makes working in groups so rewarding. While your
dream mate may have dreamt their own dream, their dream can still open your
eyes to similar issues that you’re having. This is called the “shared Aha.”

 

If you’re
working in a dream group and you think you see something that the dreamer isn’t
seeing, don’t worry about it. Let the dreamer find his or her own truth.
Perhaps that “Aha” was meant for you. In which case, take it and use it to
enhance your life. Even if you know the dreamer and you’re sure that you’re
right, without an “Aha” on the dreamer’s part, the truth that you know for them
won’t make a difference. Let them make the discovery themselves. The dream will
be the dreamer’s guide.

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