The Dream Grimoire by Theatre Sans Serif
As a part of their evolutionary drive, it means to be human to have wants, needs, and desires. Many times within our modern society, these conflicting desires often commingle until we lose all sense of our priorities. The Dream Grimoire helps to confront this reality, and serves to show people where their goals truly lie and illuminate a possible path to reach them.
The Dream Grimoire is in itself both interactive, family friendly theater experience and the object created through the experience.. It contains no technical elements, depending solely on the performer, and set up takes a matter of minutes, with no lasting clean up. Its main guiding principles are in self motivation, and what I refer to as “The Tao of the Two Year Old.” Essentially, by asking “Why” often enough, we get to some deep truths about ourselves.
Generally the Grimoire setup is placed in a relatively quiet area to encourage conversation, with signage indicating that the Participant should have a seat across from the Librarian (as portrayed by the actor.) Once there, they are welcomed and greeted warmly. They are then asked what could pass for a simple question: “If you could have anything that you wanted, right in this moment, anything at all, what would it be?”
More often than not, people have a tendency to freeze as they realize that a simple question is in fact extraordinarily complicated, and what is often first thought of (usually money) isn’t most often what they truly want in the long run.
At this point the performance typically diverts into two camps, most typically based on age. Children often view the Grimoire as a wishing mechanism, where they offer their wishes, writing them in the book, and placing their mark.
With adults, however something rather extraordinary has a tendency to happen, as the follow up question asked is “What is stopping you from getting it?” Individuals will often stop, think, and begin mentally planning their next steps. Depending upon the receptivity of the individual during the performance, the actor will encourage them to vocalize this, and break down what they once considered a monumental task into a small first step on their desired path. When the Individual then writes that first step into the Grimoire, they receive additional encouragement (and a motivational call to action by the Performer) that by writing it down they are in fact making a promise with themselves that they will continue to move down that path to their goals.
Within many cultures there is often a time set aside to focus on the ideas of new growth and the turning over of a new leaf. The New Years Celebrations (both solar and lunar), Ramadan, and Rosh Hashanah all immediately spring to mind, but similar events focusing on the idea of recentering oneself seems to be a relatively universal concept.
By taking the techniques of theater and applying them to real world situations, Theatre Sans Serif hopes and believes that it is making truly relevant work. By creating a performance piece can be at home nearly everywhere (and indeed it has found a home with such varied venues as First Night Pittsburgh, the Romero Lives! Festival, Art All Night, and a residency with the Downtown Pittsburgh Partnership at Mellon Square), Theatre Sans Serif hopes to illustrate a path of its own through accessible and inclusive theater.