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August 30 2006

BtVS is still the queen of pre-new-school-year nightmares. Interesting article, about the fears people have as the new school year opens, which references Buffy as the archetype of such nightmares.

Nice to know our show still comes immediately to mind with academics!

I don't know if I quite buy the premise that the dream, in whichever version, is based upon procrastination, avoidance, and guilt. Sadly, I was one of those compulsive, always-have-the-work-done-on-time students (Willow), and I had versions of the dream -- that somehow I had completely forgotten I was enrolled for a course, and that I only remembered that I was enrolled on the day of the final exam, and then I couldn't find the classroom to take the exam. I always attributed the dream to perfectionism, and the fear that things were going to get out of my control.

Like the author, though, it was a revelation to me to discover, after I graduated from college, that so many other people had the same dream.
palehorse, I also was a perfectionist "goody two shoes" student that always handed my work in on time, and I too always dreamed about forgetting to do homework assignments. In fact, I think those dreams are probably much more prevalent in perfectionists than procrastinators. That's why we *are* perfectionists, because we are afraid of failure.
Yep. 47 years old, and I still have both those dreams.

With all due respect to BtVS, the all time worst thing to watch before starting your freshman year in college is The Paper Chase. Trust me, I did it.

[ edited by cronopio on 2006-08-31 04:20 ]
palehorse: "I don't know if I quite buy the premise that the dream, in whichever version, is based upon procrastination, avoidance, and guilt."

Yeah, me neither, palehorse, although The Dream may have kicked up some stuff for him along those lines, it is about performance anxiety, whatever that may mean for each individual. It's the premise of Durang's An Actor's Nightmare, but folks who've never acted onstage have The Dream or similar about performing in life, both the guilty and the prepared. I still have them occasionally when something is difficult or unfamiliar.

I loved all that performing anxiety in Buffy, both Willow's and Buffy's -- it's both hilarious & painful to watch.

I managed to take The Dream to absurd, nay Rococo levels one time: I dreamt I was in the wings backstage after just having been informed I was in a play, which I didn't know about, hadn't learned the lines & never rehearsed. I looked onstage and realized that they were performing two plays simultaneously, to two differently situated audiences on either side of one stage. The blocking looked incredibly complicated. I frantically mentioned this to the Stage Manager as further evidence of the impossibility of my appearing, and he said, "Oh it's all cleverly written so that the lines you say and the stuff you do in one play will be appropriate to the other play, too. But you should have no problem as the female lead."

Reader, I plotzed.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-08-31 04:53 ]
QuoterGal, I like the creatviity of that dream. It reminds me of Willow's stagefright dream at the end of Season 4. I love that her dream version of "Death of a Salesman" bears no relation whatsover to the actual play. That's so dreamistic. (I've actually seen a performance where THREE plays were acted simultaneously on one stage, MacBeth, Medea and Cinderella, with the blocking and action interacting.)

A few years ago I started DJing on a folk music show for a local college radio station. For the first months, every time I was due on the air, I would have a nightmare the night before. I was relieved to learn that fellow DJs had the same experience. I asked one fellow who'd been doing it for more than 20 years how long it had taken before the nightmares stopped. He answered "Stopped?"
Oh yes, I recognized Willow's fear as she got on stage to sing (or not!)in Opera. My version usually involves being on stage as well, although nothing as creative as yours, QuoterGal.
barboo! I thought I was the only person in the world (aside from the friend who went with me) who saw that wacky triple MacBeth/Medea/Cinderella production! Wasn't that something?

Still can't compare to the barely controlled chaos of juggling 18-hours of college courses your first semester at college, along with all the social and extra-curriculars you want to explore. Plus fighting demons.

A few years ago, BtVS season 4 was the basis of a first-semester college orientation course somewhere. Don't have time to look it up right now.
Don't think i've had dreams like this one though when work's being particularly stressful I do sometimes awaken with a start at 4 am thinking 'Shit, did I check such and such' and so on which may indicate anxiety related dreams I just don't remember.

I was always kind of a crammer at school so although work got handed in on time I just seemed to need the extra 'fizz' of it being due the next day to actually get down to it and do my best stuff (probably related to this, I actually used to enjoy exams since they seemed kind of exciting - sorry any exam-stress-heads, feel free to hate me ;).

And getting on for 20 years after leaving school I still have 'homework butterflies' on a Sunday evening i.e. the distinct and worrying feeling that I haven't finished something that needs handing in on Monday morning. Formative years indeed ;).
I agree those dreams have to do more with perfectionism than procrastination. I guess they could be strongest when a perfectionist procrastinates, though. ;-)

For years I had a recurring dream that I had not finished high school and I had to go back to finish. In the dream I would start off fine, but as an adult at my old school as though I had never left. I would then get distracted by adult stuff and realize that I had not been going to class for a while, at which point I would wake up. When I went back to college and got my degree, the dreams stopped. I had not realized that not finishing college had bothered me so much.

Although I do/did have dreams of being in a show without knowing my lines or blocking, the inappropriate nudity dreams have always been much more common...even when I was actively in theater. When I was a kid and a competetive swimmer, they almost exclusively involved not putting on my suit before going out for workouts. Now they involve me casually not dressing and then feeling like I need to grab a towel or something even though no one is making much of a fuss. In the last few years I have begun to think it has to do with identity issues, and the desire to just be myself rather than put on a more conventional persona.
I remember once, before a major French test in school, just before I got out of bed, I was in that kind of half awake, half asleep state where I was stilling actively trying to sleep, but in my head I was being forced to go through sets of French verbs and the different endings for each pronoun, and going through different tenses as well.

The way it felt to me was almost as if my brain was a computer. And whenever it turned out, as you might a computer, it was like it was booting up and reading through all the important files, hence why my brain was going over the French stuff that I needed to remember.

It was pretty weird, and kind of cool, although it doesn't happen that often. I have noticed it happening on the day of important events, like tests.
The best version of the Dream that visits me from time to time is the one where I have to go back to college because I need one more Physical Education credit to graduate.
I have to say, I have been having the dream for years, being one of those incredibly type A people. My personal Buffy therapy is watching "The Freshman" before exams start. Somehow it's much more confidence inspiring than watching "Nightmares." :)
lioness and barboo, I think the (unconscious realms of the) psyche is the creative one by giving me that dream -- musta been trying to jog me about fears of my different worlds (work, personal life, etc.) clashing, or getting me to compare them, or somesuch.

Or giving me hints on new trends in staging... (barboo and Maeve, are you serious about the MacBeth/Medea/Cinderella production? I thought I was being the World's Most Gullible Person Ever when I considered even for a moment the possibility that somebody staged this/these play(s). If you're not totally messing with my head, do tell me more about this production...

Razor: "The way it felt to me was almost as if my brain was a computer. And whenever it turned out, as you might a computer, it was like it was booting up and reading through all the important files, hence why my brain was going over the French stuff that I needed to remember."

Razor, have you considered the possibility that you might be genetically enhanced? I mean, when I've had a certain task-heavy day, the actions of that task might follow me into my dream world (I've tried to typeset & photoshop the different folks that people my dreams) but I wish I had that particular computer-y brain download you describe. Mostly, I experience that old-timey crunching/grinding sound that old computers used to make when they were processing something beyond their capacity.

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