This is an account of a dream I had some short while ago. Doreen, my wife, is giving an address of some sort. She is standing on a dais in what appears to be a lecture hall. A rapt audience is sitting in what looks more like the nave of a church, though they are sitting in the sort of study chairs more usually found in lecture halls. Doreen is relating an anecdote about a woman who is "kicking off" in a supermarket. It is obviously going to illustrate something. She begins to gesticulate rather excitedly. "No one can do anything with this woman, so they send for the general manager..." She is really warming to her story now, and continues with it even more animatedly than before. "The general manger arrives, goes straight up to the troublesome woman and says..." She comes to a sudden stop. There is silence. Has she forgotten the punch line? Some of the audience begin to smile, but they are still looking earnestly towards her. She does not look discomposed or worried, she is standing in a relaxed manner, arms hanging limply by her sides, regarding the audience. I am reassured. She knows what she is doing. The pause is planned. It will be part of the point she is about to make. I look back at the audience. The first signs of embarrassment are beginning to show, a slight restlessness is apparent. Still there is no sound, either from them or from her. I look back at her. The same pose, the same demeanour. The fidgetting of the audience is growing, though still silently. They are most definitely embarrassed now, occasionally looking away from the dais towards their neighbours. Nothing, though, perturbs my wife. The silence continues, and I am thinking that whatever is coming next had better be good, when I realise the cause of the silence: I have woken up, I have obviously been awake for a few seconds, maybe a minute, difficult to know, dreamtime not being quite the same as real time, and me not being quite sure which one I'm in. The sound must have switched off when I awoke, but not the vision. I can still see my wife or the audience, whichever I choose to look at. I open my eyes, not having realised until then that they were still closed. It is quite dark and for a few seconds more I can see what is happening in that lecture hall, though now I can also hear what is happening outside, car doors are banging, an animal of some sort is screeching, someone shouts. Then the faint outlines of the bedroom replace the lecture hall, and the dream is over.
They say that when you die your hearing is the last faculty to go. I doubt it will be so in my case. Or does someone out there know better? On a scale from "dead common" to "unique" how usual or unusual is this? Does anyone know? It has never happened to me before.
Quotes from Harold Pinter.
"In a career attended by a great deal of dramatic criticism one of the most interesting - and indeed acute - critical questions I've ever heard was when I was introduced to a young woman and her six-year-old son. The woman looked down to her son and said: 'This man is a very good writer.' The little boy looked at me and then at his mother and said: 'Can he do a W?'"
I've had two full-length plays produced in London. The first ran a week and the second ran a year. Of course, there are differences between the two plays. In The Birthday Party I employed a certain amount of dashes in the text, between phrases. In The Caretaker I cut out the dashes and used dots instead. So that instead of, say: "Look, dash, who, dash, I, dash, dash, dash," the text would read: "Look. dot, dot, dot, who, dot, dot, dot, I, dot, dot, dot, so it's possible to deduce from this that dots are more popular than dashes and that is why The Caretaker had a longer run than The Birthday Party The fact that in neither case could you hear the dots and dashes in performance is beside the point. You can't fool the critics for long. They can tell a dot from a dash a mile off, even if they can hear neither.
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