(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.
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.
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.