February 1, 2013
Last night I dreamed a production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”. In regulation dream-fashion, it wasn’t really “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”. Best of all, there was a great zoo scene in it. With a hippo. In a wading pool.
There was a dream-prelude: a production of one of Shakespeare’s plays. I don’t recall which play, but I do remember that we were in Cleveland. Then we were in Chicago and decided to see “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” at the Goodman Theatre.
“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern” started off nowhere near as good as the Cleveland Shakespeare. Lackluster performances got me to fidgeting. I was in an aisle seat, and the row was filled with teenagers who were eating their dinners and passing empty white china plates down to me for disposal.
Groups of people, including the teenagers, began walking out. Once I was well and truly fed up with both the audience and the production, I left the theater for a stroll.
When I returned, a new, superior crew of actors was engaged in a riveting scene that involved packing up files and moving them out of an office. Things really took off from that point on.
The performance space was new, too. It was an elliptical arrangement of various indoor and outdoor habitats. You could stay put in traditional theater seating or move along a pathway and pause before different scenes. I walked along to a rocky outdoor habitat with a wading pool. That’s where the hippo wallowed. Human actors and waterfowl stood on large rocks. The humans recited.
A kid in the audience began to bother some of the animals. I collared the kid and hollered, “Cut that out!” before moving on down the path and into a traditional black-box theater, where a fantastic magic scene was underway. The illusions extended beyond the stage and into the audience. When I took a seat, it slid way way way back, as though on a track, all the way to the back of the house.
Later, there was off-stage sex. I was a participant. An overcoat was involved, together with the capacity to move fast and low like a hovercraft. Just imagine.