Day of Rest

(Part of a series about creating a new production of “Metamorphoses” by Mary Zimmerman at Georgia Shakespeare, summer, 2013.)

Was it the rain?  Or the long days at the theater?  I don’t know, but for some reason I spent Monday afternoon conked out on the sofa.  Dead to the world.  Sleeping hard.

I was only down for an hour or so, but I was completely gone.  It was as if I’d been bewitched, or perhaps overcome by a minor deity.  Sleep.

In our show, there’s a brief scene where Iris the Rainbow travels to the home of Sleep, which is in a deep, dark cave.  Once there, Iris nearly falls under his spell; only the alarm clock she brings along saves her from perpetual napdom. 

Ann Marie Gideon as Iris

Ann Marie Gideon as Iris

In another scene, a lovely young girl named Myrrha is “seized with a passion” so devastating that she cannot rest; when she finally drifts off, she is haunted by agonizing dreams. 

Ann Marie as Myrrha, haunted by her dreams

Ann Marie as Myrrha

Sleep and dreams are central to myth.  One of the characters I play in “Metamorphoses” addresses the audience directly, saying: 

“It has been said that the myth is a public dream.  Dreams are private myths.  Unfortunately, we give our mythic side scant attention these days. As a result, a great deal escapes us, and we no longer understand our own actions.”

I believe this.  When I go and go, not getting enough sleep, not stopping long enough for the flights of fancy that come in dreams, I lose touch with my humanity.  I become impatient and short-tempered.  My actions stop making sense.  Yes, it’s sometimes necessary to work long hours.  But as the myths remind us, there’s a time to embrace the divinity of rest.

I need to listen to the siren song of the sofa.  Sleep, I’m all yours.

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