Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Actor's (Not Quite Nightmare) Profoundly Deep Dream


I had a dream about Fry Tuesday night. It started out like one I've had before, most recently over this past summer. Sort of an "Actor's Nightmare" where you're at the theatre but don't know what you're doing there, or on stage and can't remember the show you're in, the lines you are supposed to be saying, and everyone else acts as though you should and do.

This one was about acting class rather than performance- a situation that would be more uncomfortable than nightmarish for me. I wonder if other professions have "nightmares"? Like a teacher's nightmare where you don't know the school, the class or the material. Or the Dr's nightmare where you're doing a surgery that you've not been trained to do. Sorry- that's an interesting tangent to explore another time!

We were in the conference room. I didn't recognize anyone else, but Fry was there, however, he didn't realize he had passed away. He was irritated that everyone was ignoring him. No one was listening to him or doing what he told them to do, because they couldn't hear or see him. It was very "Scroogish", like when the ghosts transport him around the past, present, and future and he yells at the people in the scenes he's being shown, or even at his former/future self, but no one can hear him.

Except in this case, I was the only one who could. Throughout the dream this predicament was only slightly unsettling for me, odd given the fact that in real life if Fry walked into the conference room and talked to me now that he's gone...I would really think I'd lost it.

Anyway, once Fry figured out I could hear him, he started rattling off all these directions for me- how to teach, what to cover, what the others needed corrected on, etc. Meanwhile I frantically ran around trying to fulfill his wishes and convey his directions to the class, who all looked at me like, "Who do you think you are, BILL FRY????"

Dreams for me are like plays, where you are mid action/line/emotion, and BOOM! Lights out/back up in another scene entirely.

We were in my car, my OLD car, my parents' old car actually. Ford Fairmont, shit brown to match the rust. I was giving him a ride home to his apartment. I did this many times in real life (many of us did- Fry never had a driver's license) so it's wasn't so strange to be in the car with him. He puffed away at his More cigarette (dark brown menthols in the green box. Do you know why so many actors smoke menthols? Because actors are poor and mooch cigs off everyone, and most actors HATE menthol cigarettes, so if you are a cheap actor who can get used to them you are more likely to discourage other cheap actors from stealing/mooching them off of you.)

Sorry. Back to task.

We chatted on the ride home, Fry seemingly still oblivious that he was no longer of this world.

Well...Fry never was "of this world" to start with- so far the dream wasn't all that odd.

Then we arrived at his apartment. Here's the weird part. I asked to come up. And he said yes. Now...I don't think I ever asked, and I know I was never invited into Fry's apartment. I've always been insanely curious as to what it was like (his office was terrible- ashes everywhere, books falling off the shelves, etc) so I just wondered how he lived. I pictured highly disheveled, books stacked to the ceiling, photos stuffed in between them...

But in my dream, the place was very tidy. At least the kitchen was, and that's really all the further I went.

I know that Fry's real life apartment would not have a basement, but in my dream it did. And he opened the door to show me that because there was something about it that was upsetting him he wanted me to look at.

I peeked down the stairs, and saw a several actors, in period (Where's Charlie?) costume, strolling around, in some fog, with lots of lights (Rick Lombardo show????) One woman with a 1900's dress and parasol, saw us and motioned for Fry to come down there. I felt it was an after life/otherworldly place, and knew I couldn't go with him. I started to say, "He doesn't know yet-" and the woman raised her hand up slowly, finger to her lips...

shhhhhhhhhh.....inaudible as a mime.

Then she smiled warmly to me and nodded that she understood, and gave me a pleading look, inquiring if I could help him down.

I looked at Fry.

He stood peering down to the stage full of actors needing direction, like he knew somehow he needed to get down to them, but was unsure of his footing on the basement stairs.

He hesitated, not ready to go.

Then he turned back toward me, his hand still on the door knob, looking as though he couldn't decide if he should shut it in front of or behind himself.

Again the woman looked at me for help, and I could feel how much they were waiting for him. That they needed him...and it was where he needed to be.

I looked at him, started to cry and said,

"I love you Fry. I'm sorry I never told you before."

He hugged me, holding onto me tightly before pulling back away.

Then he said, "Oh Jennifer...I know that. And you know I always loved you too."

Then he walked down the stairs, and disappeared with the rest of the cast who were awaiting him.

And I woke up.

Sadness.
Loss.
Peace.
Closure.

I do love you Fry.
And I do know.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A very haunting piece, I must say. We've all heard stories about people not being able to cross over. They didn't feel it was their time or they were caught by surprise by their own death and still had unfinished business to tend to before they could rest. I had a nightmare myself about a cousin who committed suicide. Very tragic. Not sure about the theatre downstairs idea and the door, but Bill did teach most of his classes in the Arena Theatre. Over the course of the last several weeks, putting the PowerPoint Presentation together and even writing this note, I feel a presence over my right shoulder. Very haunting...John L

bella said...

he wanted u to know he loved u zen, and im glad u got to say it to him too. ive had similar dreams since my mom passed and my uncle too...i believe they do try to speak to us alot.

Zen Davis Richkowski said...

Thanks John and Bella!

John it was great getting together with you Saturday. I'm excited about getting started on the archiving! I'll let you know what day I will be at the theatre, and perhaps depending on who else is around we can meet there after my class to start digging through.

Z