In Print : Dreaming together
"Dreaming Together: Explore Your Dreams by Acting them Out," by Jon Lipsky. Larson Publications, 176 pp. $16.95.
"Dreaming Together" is never pedantic and the dream examples West Tisbury resident Jon Lipsky uses, some of which are his own, make for a fun read. His methods would be of interest to almost any teacher, and even the dreamer might find better ways to use his or her dreams for more fun and personal profit.
Most Islanders know Mr. Lipsky as an accomplished playwright, frequent Associate Artistic Director at The Vineyard Playhouse, and father of two talented boys. He is also director and professor of acting and playwriting at Boston University and has been playwright-in-residence at The Merrimac Repertory Theater, TheaterWorks/Boston, and Boston's Museum of Science. In May 2007, he won the Eliot Norton Award for Best Director (Small Company) for his collaboration with another Island regular, jazz musician Stan Strickland on "Coming Up For Air - an Autojazzography," which he first staged at The Playhouse.
Mr. Lipsky is also a dreamer. He has incorporated dreams into his work and teaching for over 20 years. He has studied Embodied Dreamwork with Robert Bosnak, a diplomate of the C.G. Jung Institute, and has led dream enactment groups in the U.S. and abroad. Recently, in October, Mr. Lipsky opened a late-night cabaret theater based on dreams called "The Dream Café" at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge.
His new book - "Dreaming Together: Explore Your Dreams by Acting them Out" - is as much a joyful expression of his years of work with dreams as it is a manual for utilizing dream interpretation through acting as a means of personal growth. It is written in an accessible, non-academic, non-dogmatic style with lots of practical examples from his own experiences. It really is two, maybe three books in one. It's a guidebook for using dreams in a theatrical workshop environment and a book about using theater games and techniques to explore dreams. It is also a record, no doubt, of some of his most exciting classroom work.
Almost all of us dream. Sometimes we find them frightening. Sometimes they are a pleasant diversion. Few of us give our dreams much more than a passing thought, if we remember them at all. The more we are exposed to the idea of dreaming, the more aware of them we become. The scientific community does not yet have a conclusive explanation of what dreams or their functions are, and various groups interpret dreams in a myriad of ways. Dreams have been used as a window into the mind, a religious tool, and a political justification, and as prophetic as well as artistic inspiration.
Mr. Lipsky is careful not to assign specific meaning to dreams. Instead, he utilizes them as a framework for staging awake experiences that can lead to personal re-evaluation and introspection, as well as a method for helping actors connect with the emotional core of a particular scene on the stage.
Acting schools and workshops use theater games to hone the skills of actors. Many of these exercises have been used successfully along with improvisation and drama therapy in non-acting group situations both for therapeutic and informational purposes. Mr. Lipsky applies some of these same exercises to explicating and then staging the dreams of participants. The book is filled with examples taken from his years of teaching.
It is a hands-on, how-to book that takes the reader from simple one-on-one exercises to working with larger groups to staging full-blown productions.
Author's talk and book signing, Saturday, Nov. 29, The Vineyard Playhouse, 4:30-6 pm. Books will be available for purchase at the event.