A while ago I recounted a dream in which I auditioned for the part of Santa Claus in a Ricky Gervais movie. That was a slightly troubling dream - but perhaps not quite as troubling as the previous one where I was a secret agent parachuted into France (with a horse) as part of a plot to assassinate The Fuhrer.
However, my latest dream probably beats both those for weirdness. It was about a Prop Shop.
So what is a Prop Shop? Well in my dream the Prop Shop was a shop that actors visited to purchase all the things they needed to get into character for a role.( I suppose Prop Shops do actually exist in some form or another although the closest I've been to one is a fancy dress/joke shop.) In my dream The Prop Shop was the type of place Dustin Hoffman, who is a method actor, would go to get exactly the right shoes and wigs and accessories to get into character. This is opposed to a classical actor just kind of... acts... without so much fuss and bother.
I am explaining things well enough No? Okay - I'll have another bash.
So there's two actors auditioning for the role of a tree on the set of A Midsummer Night Dream, the method actor paints himself green and sticks leaves all over himself and the classical actor sticks his hands out and sways himself a round and imagines he's a tree. Likewise, if there are two actors auditioning for the role of a mad axeman, the method actor buys himself an axe, pours a vial of blood down his shirt and wobbles his bottom lip in a menacing manner. The classical actor wears his normal clothes, looks straight into the camera and remembers the time his brother butchered his hamster.
Got it? Okay. Good.
By the way if you're an actor don't bother complaining if I've got it wrong. It's about thirty years since I read Stanislavsky and this is not a discourse on acting, it's the rantings of a woman on the edge of menopause. Don't expect anything to make sense. I don't.
However, do get in touch if you're Nicholas Cage and need some acting advice. I can help. I really can.
So back to my dream. So, for some reason or other, I'm invited to The Prop Shop to see how it functions from behind the counter (must be something to do with my retail background.) The shop has limited opening hours so when the doors open in pour all the social miscreants (ie actors) looking for false noses, comedy breasts, stomach padding and wigs etc etc. They are busy tossing over the wigs and discussing the merits of foam padding as opposed to silicon padding whilst I look around in wonderment at the sight of these Shakespearian actors talking pompously about the size of their noses and codpieces. Then one actor comes up to the counter with seven pairs of large incontinence pants in different colours for different days of the week which he wishes to buy. I ask what role he's playing (Well who wouldn't? I'd want to see any role which has an actor wearing multiple incontinence pants) and he replies:
"Oh they're not for me. They were just so comfortable when I wore then in my last role I decided to get some for my mother."
Actors. *uckin nuts. Well most of them anyway.
So I sell the actor the seven pairs of pants and while the rest are still busy trying on their comedy breasts and codpieces I make my way out to the back garden where a host of other actors and director-types have gathered to watch a demonstration. They are milling around oohing and ahhing and making big Shakespearian gestures. (Feet wide apart, arms raised, that type of stuff.) I push my way through the crowd and see a sales assistant standing in a mock grave with a body at his feet.
Yes, I did say mock grave.
(As I said this is really weird dream.)
Okay so there are fake graves, containing (fake) partially decomposed bodies in the grounds of The Prop Shop. They are accessories for episodes of crime shows like CSI and such like. I listen to the sales assistant giving his sales patter...
"Now this corpse is about two months old. (Lifts up a rotten arm which falls off). "It's perfect for a recently unearthed burial scene in obscure woodland and this one (the assistant jumps out of the grave and into next grave) has rigor mortis (Lifts up a arm and the whole body follows) which is ideal for the recently deceased in an episode of The Following....."
The Shakespearian actors and numerous directors in the ilk of dear late Michael Winner are watching closely, admiring the corpses and discussing their virtues.
"First class. Love the stiffness. Has a sort of rigidness about it...."
"I see a recently deceased Hamlet here.. tragic, tragic..."
"Can it come in black?"
Now I know you'd love to hear how my dream ended so here goes.
"I'm turning the light on."
"Huh?" Mrs T pulls bedclothes over her head.
"Mrs T, I'm turning the light on. Can you make me some sandwiches, please?"
"What? (moans semi-incoherently) I was just dreaming about a Prop Shop where they sell incontinence pants and fake corpses....."
So there you have it. I'll never get to know what happened at the end of my dream as Mr T woke me up in pursuit of sandwiches Mind you, I'm thinking it was probably a good thing as I'm not sure I like the way that dream was heading - I might have ended up selling incontinence pants to Kenneth Branagh or a fake limb to Nicholas Cage. Ugh. The very idea gives me the creeps. I might make a story out of my dream one day though. Some writers do that. I'd call it The Prop Shop obviously.
If you have any ideas for a decent ending though please feel free to drop me a line!