Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Sweeper of Dreams

A few days ago, my dear friend, Kristen, turned me on to this nifty contest that the English National Opera (ENO) is holding for Mini-Operas.  At the moment, the libretto portion is underway, which will be followed by composition and - rather intriguingly - film direction.

One of the mentors is the fellow who's been bringing us the filmed versions of the Metropolitan Opera.  Several of the participants have also worked on the Met's The Enchanted Island which is a pastiche of Shakespeare's The Tempest...which I got to do with some rather talented folks at Hudson High School.  (See above.)

To help out the librettists, three splendid folk gave "seed stories."  The one that intrigued me (quelle surprise) was Neil Gaiman's "The Sweeper of Dreams."  The good folks holding the competition have asked that each participant put their entry on their blog (which means that I've gotten to read several other sterling librettos for the same story - my favourite of which is here).

So, without further ado, I present to you my libretto for The Sweeper of Dreams.  You can read it here.  Or press the fly out button in the embedded document below.  I'd really love to know what you do feel free to leave a comment!  Enjoy!


  1. Ooooooooo! Neil Gaiman's stuff is always thought-provoking, even when you're just enjoying it. The whole time I was torn as to whether I wanted everybody to wake up and stop dreaming or whether I wanted to join them. On the one hand, I heard Dumbledore saying, "It does not do, Harry, to dwell on dreams and forget to live." But on the other hand, I was kinda hearing "...merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." And then I heard Fr. Brown say, "I did not say it was always wrong to enter Fairy Land, only that it was always dangerous."

    Now I'm wondering just who the Sweeper is. Because he seems like a kind of borderland guardian and caretaker. He seems to know where people belong and encourages them to stay there, but while they're in that other place, he keeps track of the things they found or need there. They don't belong in those dreams, but he'll wait for the dreamers as long as they take.

    I liked very much how the Sweeper wouldn't let the Doctor touch the glass diadem thing. Kind of like he knew the Doctor didn't really get the significance of it and so couldn't handle it safely.

    I apparently need to find that Neil Gaiman story. I'd really love to see this mini opera when you get it filmed!

  2. Wonderful interpretation! Isn't it fun to see all the interpretations of Gaiman's story? I like the way your characters' lines are stacked. I had a hard time making columns in Blogger (not designed for columns)--you figured out the best way to embed the script! (Thanks for the mention, too! I'm very flattered.)