edition Juli-August 2023

In the Dream Body

Inspired by Carmen Maria Machado’s "In the Dream House"

Tragikkomödie und Drama mit 32 Figuren, derzeit zu sehen im Mund der Autorin. Foto: Parvathi Ramanathan

Text: Parvathi Ramanathan
Dancer, Researcher and Writer who has occasional morning affairs with poetry


Dream Body as Light Designer

You lie in the dark, ready to begin. You open your eyes – and out comes a shaft of light. The light is a colour of your choosing – dim whitish-blue to imitate moonlight, metallic-red for a wash of mystery or a luminous green for an underwater world. You control the lights with your mind. No Fresnel or PAR cans are needed to light the dance performance. Your eyes do it all.
Moving across the space, you draw a flourishing purple-tinged arc. Roving independently like the eyes of a chameleon, you can even do two colours at once.

Despite these talents, dancers need to take on mini-jobs, of course.
Tonight: Gig at the club to light the dance-floor. Something to accompany minimal techno. Blink-Blink-Blink-Blink! Purple-Purple-Purple-Mauve!??
Oops! Technical issues.


Dream Body as Doctor Knee

Doctor’s note

Date: 17/11/2009
Symptom: Pain in right knee
Diagnosis: Inflammation in Meniscus due to over-exertion Medication: Cold compress. Stretching. Rest for 5 days.


Doctor’s note

Date: 20/11/2009
Symptom: Popping sound in right knee Diagnosis: Radial tear in Meniscus Medication: Stop rehearsals until healed


Doctor’s note

Date: 30/11/2009
Symptom: Severe pain without mobility Diagnosis: Persistent tear. Dislocation. Medication: Stop. Just Stop.



Doctor on Leave


Dream Body as a Comfortable Friendship

Ah! This belly and its soft edges. So supple to touch! How beautifully it protrudes, announcing itself into the room before you. The dimple of your belly button is like a deep well where a tablespoon of olive oil could stand tranquil. Fine hair across the sides and thick down along the centre, like an enchanting prairie grassland. You spread your fingers wide and try to gather as much of the belly into each hand, and give it a good shake. You laugh. The same way as when you shake hands and introduce yourself at a party, laughing with someone like you mean it.

They are doing alright. You are too. There were times when this friendship was strained. But now you are comfortable in their presence. You even comfort one another.

Dream Body as Full-Mouthed Drama

Thirty-two characters jostling for space.

Act I, Scene I:
Four wise ones – potentially troublesome –
Plucked out of the cast (covered for by the health insurance).


Dream Body as Mirage

In your dream, you are at a smoky jazz bar. The pianist plays with verve until a housefly comes along buzzing around her ear. She swats the fly away but her hands return to the wrong key, imitating the sound of the buzzing insect. She presses it again and again. Ting Ting...way off the tune from earlier. Ting Ting...Tong. Ting Tong!

It’s your doorbell. You get out of bed to attend to the door and forget the magic your body just performed. In a matter of seconds, it created the plot for a dream and then made a minor alteration in the storyline – all with a sonic element – just so that you could ease into the waking world. Ting Tong.

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