“Barb Sanders” and the Theater

Part four in a series about one of Calvin Hall’s study subjects, pseudonymously named “Barb Sanders.” Barb kept a dream journal for much of her life.

Barb Sanders loved everything about the theater.

She had 169 dream reports about the theater, many of which involved her auditioning for a part, or directing a theatrical production.

In real life, she acted in productions and wrote them too.

In half of the theater dreams, she sees herself giving an excellent performance. Sometimes in dreams, she sometimes comes out of the audience to give a performance that the audience loves. In other dreams, she’s discovered at the last moment and is made the star of the show.

One can see she’d have loved to have been a celebrity.

Performing dream trio

In one dream, Sanders, her middle daughter, and another woman sing on stage and are met with enthusiastic applause.

June 8, 1985: …I see a stage, with musicians there. I go out on stage, to the mike. I remember that my sister and daughters are there too. I start to talk to the audience, who are far away, seated at tables. I say, “everybody get up and go to the dance floor.” Most do… I turn to the musicians, “Hit it boys, some hot boogie…” I start singing and it’s good. My middle daughter and another woman join in, three-part harmony. It’s great. The audience loves it, I love, it, except I want to do it solo. I tell my daughter and the other woman to go away and I sing ballad. (We’re) great.

People sometimes saw Barb as ambitious

I think she’s incredibly ambitious and overachieving, and it’s like it’s never enough. Nothing is ever enough for her to feel good enough about herself, and yet she’s so wise and good and strong and able, and it’s just never enough for her to make herself feel (good). I think that’s why she goes out and does theater, because she wants to make herself feel positive and belovedLucy (friend)

Yet, in considering her journals, to Barb, it wasn’t quite as simple as Lucy believed. Half of Barb’s theater dreams feature rejection and misfortune.

In some dreams, Barb doesn’t win the part, or people leave as she is about to perform. Sometimes she misses a rehearsal, can’t find the theater, or nearly falls off the stage. In other theater dreams, Barb forgets her lines. Other times Barb becomes afraid she’ll forget them. In two dreams she doesn’t have a script, so she doesn’t even have a chance to learn her lines only to forget them!

These dream problems reflect her waking life. When she’s performing in the theater group, friends report that Barb is often afraid she’ll forget her lines and does sometimes feel ignored and undervalued.


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James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 


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