Report from Pillville...as delivered by a dream...with a tightrope and a hamster
I'm in some kind of improv performance. But not as a professional. I'm a volunteer from the audience. It seems that the point is to select a group from the audience, and then after an orientation with the director, we perform. The performance space is car wash/gas station. One of those big places with a lot of things for sale so they can triple the cost of what you pay for the car wash when you shop while you wait. They have a little bit of everything, and since we are supposed to use what's in our environment as fodder for the improv, I hurriedly note the possibilities. There's pet food and greeting cards and car stuff and some minor hardware type stuff. The only really interesting thing is a novelty entertainment that consists of a tightrope that runs around the perimeter of the room at ceiling height. Along the tight rope is a variety of characters that either bicycle, unicycle, or walk in perpetual motion around and around above our heads. I'm panicking, trying to think of something clever or some funny way to incorporate this. I'm not really able to hear or focus on what the director is saying. To add to the confusion, the audience who had already been seated on folding chairs in a sizable empty section of the room, is now being asked to file out for a few moments so we "actors" can finish our rehearsal/orientation with the director. The audience is annoyed and I am annoyed that there's all this milling around with people talking. I'm grumbling to myself about what a stupid arrangement it all is. Why have the audience come in and gotten comfortable if we now have to chase them out so we can rehearse or whatever you call what we're doing. The place looks different when they're gone. There's a big garage door visible now. Maybe it leads to some kind of service bay where they change oil or put your car on a hoist to clean the underside. These big doors have opaque glass in them and through them a glowing light is visible. It's the only attractive part of the room. Better than the kitschy tightrope. Better than any of the product displays. These squares of light seem to promise that there's something on the other side. Was the director saying something about the doors? I couldn't really hear her. I don't know what she expects of us. I'm nervous. The audience will be returning, and I want to come up with something clever so I began to work on some kind of line where I say something like,"Oh look (pointing to the tightrope and it's characters circling overhead) don't you think our pet hamster would like that? He could run along the tightrope with them!" I don't think the line is very good, even though it does kind of follow the instruction of utilizing the environment. I have a sinking feeling. This is going to be awkward. And now for my improvisational interpretation. Here's the tightrope: the hearing loop--which in a home installation can run around the edges of the room at ceiling height. In the dream, I'm my mother--confused, unable to understand because I can't hear. Yesterday the guy from Caption Call came to our house with the new FTC (you'd think we were about to breach national security with her close-captioned phone) paperwork. I was telling him how difficult it is for my mom to hear--that the hearing aids don't help much, that the captioning on the phone is slow and not always accurate. He told us about the hearing loop technology, and about a smart phone app called TalkTranslate. The timeline is too short to get my kitchen, living room and dining room looped before Thanksgiving--darn, but I'm hoping for a little help from TalkTranslate so my mom can enjoy the party. This looping thing seems affordable and simple. It's quite widely used in public spaces in Great Britain and Scandinavia, the Internet says. Sounds like a miracle. Anybody out there ever heard of it?