Creating Theatrical Dreams
A Taoist Approach to Molander's, Bergman's
& Wilson's Productions of Strindberg's A Dream Play

By Jai-Ung Hong
December 2003
Stockholm University, Department of Theatre Studies
ISBN: 91-86434-25-X
379 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$95.00 Paper Original

This is a Ph.D. dissertation. The aim of this dissertation is to explore the Tao of theater through the study of the productions of Strindberg's A Dream Play on stage. For the purpose of understanding these dynamic relationships Taoism is used and especially I Ching, the essence of eastern philosophies. In this thesis the I Ching provides an important concept of "the Tao of theater." The Tao of theater means a way of unity and harmony and a process of continual flow and change in the theater. Its principle characteristic is the the cyclical nature of its ceaseless motion.

The I Ching shows the activities of the theater world, which once expanded, reveal the endless process of universal change. The point of departure is Stindberg's explanation about the dreamer's consciousness in his foreword of this play. It is deeply related to lucid dream, which means that the dreamer is aware of his or her dreaming. During his Inferno period, Strindberg's experience of astral projection and dreaming corresponds to the phenomenon of dream lucidity. This study explores the phenomenon of dream lucidity through the dream theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Paul Kugler and James Hillman.

The question of the dreamer's identity provides the key to an understanding of the productions of Strindberg's A Dream Play. Three kinds of dreamer in the productions of this play are presented: the author, the director and the spectator. In order to examine the three kinds of dreamer, Olof Molander's 1935/1955, Ingmar Bergman's 1970/1986 and Robert Wilson's 1998 productions of A Dream Play in Stockholm were chosen. The three kinds of dreamer are characterized by two states of identification: dreamer-as-participator and dreamer-as-observer in these productions. These states are deeply related to the idea of the interplay between yin and yang in the dreamer's existence, character and role-playing, stage and auditorium, in the productions of A Dream Play. The I Ching gives a new insight into the analysis of the productions of this play.

Theater Arts

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