A closed curtain. In front of it is a strange, ragtag trio of creatures.
Ringmaster: We are not your ordinary late-night scragglers.
Goblin Girl: We are mischief,
Fairy Godhag: magic,
Dream Trio: wishful-thinking hagglers-
We’re your dreams.
The curtain rises: a tableau in a little pub- a television features the impending victory of a football team, but instead of a raucous bunch of drunken men in jerseys, there is an oddball mix of characters gathered around the bar or scattered among the tables. A clown in pajamas. A Mafia lord. A tattered angel. And more.
Dreams: We’re the ghosts beneath your bed.
We’re the stories in your head.
We are ragtag, zigzag, cats-in-a-bag
Sad Little Drummer Boy: (hauntingly) And when the night is done, we die.
The dreams stop for a beat.
All Dreams: We’re your favorite late-night scragglers
We are hopes and hounds and hagglers
We are mischief, magic, mayhem-
We’re your dreams!
Sad little drummer boy: And when the night is done, we DIE!
Music slows down and so do the dreams, moving as if through liquid.
Ringmaster : But there’s a world between the waking
And a slumber close to breaking-
That befuddles the most sensible of men
Dream Trio: When you feel the dream-walls shaking,
And the sky you made is flaking,
All Dreams: You are coming to the old Dream Sweeper’s den.
Spotlight on the Dream Sweeper. He is sitting in a corner table, perhaps the most nondescript of all the odd creatures. He is gruff, unshaven, his t-shirt rolled up at the sleeves to reveal a dragon tattoo. He is puffing on a cigarette.
Dream Sweeper: I was a young man when Time began.
I will be done when Time is gone.
I am no god, or reaper, or lord-
I am the Dream Sweeper,
And I’m very, very bored.
The Dreams start moving again, slowly, as if underwater.
All Dreams: When you feel the dream-walls shaking,
And the sky you made is flaking,
Dream Sweeper: I do as I must.
A pale, golden-haired dream, scattering blood-red cherries, looks up, is touched by his broom, and turns into dust.
All Dreams : In that world between the waking,
And a slumber close to breaking,
Dream Sweeper: I turn your dreams to dust.
The Sweeper moves everywhere- not as slowly as the dreams, but deliberately.
All Dreams: (in varied whispers)
Hope, hound, haggler/ mischief, magic, mayhem/
spectre, story, soul-catcher, etc.
He touches them one by one with his broom and they vanish. It is raining ash. He sweeps the ash away.
The pub is taken away and he is now on the street. Apart from the Ringmaster and his little band, who are yet untouched, it seems to be deserted, but the music has turned ominous.
Ringmaster: Merciless he is, they say,
Fairy Godhag: But mercy is for those he never spares.
Goblin Girl: You’ll know the dreams he never sweeps,
Dream Trio: by their screams and tatters and their matted hair.
Slowly they crawl into the stage, alone or in clusters- grey, wild-eyed, howling, tearing at their hair, reaching out to the Sweeper, but he passes through without paying them any heed, and touches none of them with his broom.
Neglected Dreams: Our words are half-imaginary
Our battered souls are bent
When dream and dreamer are as one…
Dream Sweeper: Some dreamers pay the rent.
Neglected Dreams: ‘Til all our dreams are spent!
Dream Sweeper: LET ALL THESE DREAMS BE SPENT!
The Sweeper finally sweeps away the little band with a flourish, and the neglected dreams retreat. It continues to rain ash. He sets down his broom and takes out another cigarette. There is silence.
Dream Sweeper: My work is done. Another night has gone.
Suddenly the silence is broken by an ethereal melody. Among all the greyness, there is suddenly light and color. A luminescent girl in a brightly-colored dress is balancing on the boundaries of dream, arms outstretched.
Dream Sweeper: Your story has ended.
Girl: There are some longer tales.
Dream Sweeper: I do as I must. When the night is done, you…
He makes a motion to sweep her away. She stares back at him, unharmed.
Dream Sweeper: …die? Who are you?
Girl: I am only here to dream.
Dream Sweeper: I am here to save you from it.
Girl: Perhaps I don’t need saving. Not I.
She takes his hand.
Dream Sweeper: Are you of another earth,
Have you come from tales of lore?
Girl: Have you known death, or birth?
Has a dream held your hand before?
Dream Sweeper: When I touch a dream, it dies.
When I do not is the dreamer’s demise.
Girl: I have not known a sadder fate.
Dream Sweeper: I am old as Time, and it is late.
The Sweeper gets up to go, broom in tow.
Girl: You have no greater want, you have no greater fear.
He keeps on walking away as she continues singing.
Girl: When Time and dreams are done, you’ll find me here.
The Sweeper stops where he is, without turning his head.
Girl: You’ll find me here.