Jul 16, 2008

A Dreamer Examines His Facebook Page

Are Facebook updates a form of writing? When they're done by a published playwright, they can be. For the past I-don't-know-how-long, the estimable Pulitzer winner John Patrick Shanley has been sharing the content of his dreams, in a sort of public-journaling fashion, with his Facebook friends. To wit:
John Dreams: A teacher of bones tests me, a kind policewoman, an old love asks for time and a kiss.

John Dream. People from the internet were in prison putting on a play.

John Dream. A fashion show in the French countryside of subtle green plaids. I didn't want to get too close.

John dreamt he told Frank Sinatra he hoped the singer would enjoy the rest of his life.

John dreamt he was fishing with Tom Hanks. Suddenly, well known people have shown up in John's dreams. This has happened before.

John dreamt he was singing country western songs in the shower with Amy Adams. He knew more lyrics, but she was quick to pick up cues. They were clothed.

John dreamt he was flying low, ate some passion fruit, and was reminded it was for those less fortunate than he.

John dreamt he was able to get along with a difficult guy.

John dreamt of a region in the far North, where the remains of things and the remains of people were difficult to distinguish.

John dreamt he dropped a big chunk of pot at the feel of a policeman. Then he was scared. Then he realized it was a dream.

John had a dream he slept on an island the size of a dinner plate. When he woke up (in the dream) he took the island with him.

The Tom Hanks one reminds me of Shanley's quixotic self-directed feature Joe Versus the Volcano, which I recall enjoying inordinately at the time, and which ends up with Hanks playing a ukulele on a raft at sea...or did I dream that?

That oddball fable, incidentally, is the only film the playwright/screenwriter has directed--that is, until his new film of Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and--ahem--Amy Adams, now in postproduction. I had a report from the set some months ago that Streep is magnificent as Sister Aloysius, and that she seems to have a kind of ESP; a consultant on period vestments was apparently watching Streep prepping for a scene on a monitor, some distance from the set, and seconds after the consultant would point out to colleagues some small detail of the costume that was off--an untied wimple, that kind of thing--the actress, though entirely out of earshot of the consultant's critique, somehow intuited each note and made the adjustment, right before their eyes.

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