NAC French Theatre

2023-2024 SEASON

© Olivier Jean

Mani Soleymanlou Artistic director

Dreaming from the inside

A first season under my belt. 
A season with no lockdowns, no convoys. 

And yet it’s now that, every so often, I feel that life is passing me by. 
I’m getting older. 
I’m 41. It’s the beginning of the end, I say to myself. 
I’m at the halfway point … if I’m lucky enough to live to a ripe old age. 

But at the rate life is speeding along, you can tell right away that it’s almost over. 
Sometimes my knees hurt for no reason. 
If I’ve been sitting for awhile, getting up is painful. 
I mean, honestly. 

Sometimes I open my Sunday paper or listen to the radio or read on my phone news that discourages me, not to say scares me. 
Sometimes I feel short of breath. 
Sometimes I hear my heart beating somewhere other than the usual place. 
Harder, faster. Irregular. 
Sometimes I even feel a twinge in my heart. 
A mini-dagger stabbing me. 
I tell myself that my heart is giving up. That it’s letting go. 
I lie down, just in case ... Eventually, the feeling passes. 

Sometimes I look at my son and wonder what kind of world he’ll grow up in. 
Sometimes I wonder if my parents asked themselves the same thing about my future. 
They probably didn’t. 
How selfish! 

They’re getting old too. My parents. 
It’s hard parenting our parents, isn’t it? 
Really hard. 

Heartbeat in the belly. 

More and more often I crave silence, solitude. 
I feel the need to leave, to go far away. 
To fall asleep around 8:30 pm. As early as possible, in fact. As soon as I can. 
To run away. 
To escape. 
To make all the noise stop. 
I slip into the silence of sleep, I dive happily into the depths of the night. I give myself over to dreams, and I enjoy myself. 

Reality hasn’t yet taken dreams hostage. 
Not for me. 
So I take refuge in them as often as possible. 
To calm myself down. 
To dive to the spot where my heart always beats in the right place. 
Where I’m in control. 
Where I surrender and accept losing control, too. 
To escape reality for a moment, for a night. 
To tell myself what I want to, the way I want to. 
Uninterrupted dream. 
I’ve swum with turtles in the East Australian Current. 
I’ve played hide and seek in the clouds. I was never found. 
Tiny, I’ve spent a day lost in the tall grass of a garden, surrounded by snails that I rode like horses. 
I’ve juggled with lava. It tickled. I kept dropping the lava, and when it hit the ground, the earth started to laugh. 
I’ve seen the earth from above, from a shooting star. The inhabitants of the earth were pointing at me. They were smiling. 
I’ve made a snowman and then, together, the snowman and I made a sandman! 


I haven’t even told you about all the fun I’ve have in my nightmares: 
the wolves, the missing teeth, the monsters and the endless falls ... 
The best horror movies I’ve ever seen, in the comfort of my own unconscious. 
Sometimes I wake up with bits of popcorn in my bed. 

And every morning, as soon as I wake up, the same slightly naive questions come to mind: 
What if everything were possible after all? 
What if what happens next really were up to us? 
What if we really were the main characters in this story that is taking shape and being told in spite of ourselves? 
What if we were all characters, extras, in other people’s dreams? 

I’ve never known who all those people were who appeared in my dreams. 
I’ve never known if I, too, was a stranger in someone else’s dream a thousand miles away. 

I’ve never known if our lives are full of dreams or if our dreams are constantly being interrupted by life.