GESTALT DREAMWORK SESSION, SECOND HOUR (OF 3) BY PERFORMER AHARON CHAIM. director: franklyn wepner. in these three videos of his first 3-hour gestalt dreamwork session, performer aharon chaim (last name still secret) continues the truth search he began in his first gestalt session on awareness. this time our hero encounters such formidable entities as a crashing ocean tsunami, a scorching sun, raging passions, overwhelming domestic responsibilities, pangs of worthlessness alternating with exhilarating moments of euphoria and megalomania, aimless wanderings in mysterious alleyways, the overbearing voice of hassidic morality, an endless treadmill of mindless mechanical drudgery, impossible time pressure and other demands coming from all sides, all of which build up to an explosive intensity and a crippling, tearful fear of what lies ahead, i.e., "THE UNKNOWN"! nevertheless, don quixote aharon chaim "what's-his-name", of bethpage, new york, and safed, israel, continues to sally forth undaunted to confront his windmills, and . . . (i won't spoil the story for you by telling you how he gets to the end and lives happily ever after).
those who prefer a set of more kabbalistic metaphors to narrate the above odyssey are referred to leo schaya's "the universal meaning of the kabbalah". there you will find the story unfolding in terms of traditional jewish protagonists, such as head angel (largest gestalt) metatron, who "descends and ascends on the merkavah (chariot)", i.e., suffers the dialectic, and brings it all together in the world of beriah (creation, spirit), wherein one encounters the point of view of "tifereth" (divine beauty, compassion), which is the place of "fusion without confusion" of all the qualities, names of god, archetypes, sensations, pure ideas, gestalts, etc., which, of course, is merely one more manifestation of "the holy one, blessed be he", in the sense of the one in the many and the many in the one, god in the world and the world in god.
gestalt therapy dreamwork is the basic model of work with dialectical thinking and the imagination that underlies many technologies of the sacred, of healing and of the arts that are in vogue these days. these include acting techniques based on dialectical thinking, such as that of stanislavski, michael chekhov, bertold brecht, and the "mabou mines" theater. here, in brief, is how the gestalt theater process works. a performer sends out a ray of awareness or imagination, he projects an image, he identifies with (play acts) that image, and then he begins a dialogue with another projected image. eventually the two opposing points of view arrive at an impasse, and that initiates the next phase of the process. the performer then closes his eyes and withdraws into the void to find a third image which, he hopes, will somehow encompass the two horns of his dilemma. successive cycles of this rhythm of contact and withdrawal allow weak initial "gestalts" (ideas, figures from the ground, images, archetypes, sensations, angels) to coalesce into stronger gestalts, until the final encompassing gestalt merits such names as superobjective, unmoved mover, actuality, magnet, word of god, etc., all of which, it is said, have been driving the phenomenology of the spirit until this point. in gestalt dreamwork it is usually the images of a single dream which are the source of the projections, and this common grounding for all the figures helps focus the results. i usually work with a performer three hours on a dream, since this provides enough time for the process to unfold for several cycles of thesis/antithesis/synthesis (dream image/dialogue of opposite images/encompassing new image from the void). i make extensive use of physical and vocal improvisation, as well as music, to encourage the performer to "say it with your whole body", as fritz perls would put it. the resulting clearly articulated images and ideas, externalized now as forms, are the true psychological gestures that ideally should be the foundation of the michael chekhov technique, in particular. the chekhov (platonic) approach, along with that of brecht and mabou mines, foregrounds the theater of images, magical information overload, here and now aspect of the process, at the expense of a certain amount of depth psychology. stanislavski, on the other hand, utilizes a more cerebral, psychological, organismic (aristotelian) version of the process which stresses mainly objectives, obstacles and cathartic action. in his book, "creating a role", stanislavski labels this process "appraising the facts" and "the period of emotional experience". nevertheless, the underlying awareness based, dialectical, phenomenological theory is more or less the same for all of these directors. hence, the results of this gestalt dreamwork are usable for all aspects of my own directing technique, since i combine all the above into a single flexible and holistic methodology.