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2000 A Dream Like a Dream

 Play Title 

A Dream Like a Dream



18th May 2000


 Play Synopsis 

This story starts from the 269th page of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying《西藏生死書》, describing a newly-graduated medical student on her first day working at a hospital.  Of the five patients in her ward that day, four end up dying.  The panicking doctor realizes that in all her years of learning medicine inside the walls of her school, her teachers never taught her how to face the moment of death.  She can only stand to the side, a helpless spectator.  The doctor’s younger cousin tells her of a Tibetan tantra, Tonglen tong len (trans.: exchange from others), which can help patients on the verge of death.  If the tantra doesn’t work, the cousin tells her, she can also listen attentively to the stories of the patients themselves which will also be a comfort to them.  The doctor spends a great deal of time with “Patient Number 5”(五號病人), allowing him to tell his story.  It is from his story that other characters, and their dreams, begin to emerge: Patient Number 5’s wife, Hong Jiang(江紅) from mainland China, the extraordinary Shanghai (上海)centenarian Xiang-Lan Gu(顧香蘭), the story of the French consulate’s Duke Henry.   The current and past lives of the characters, as well as their deaths, are interwoven to create a magical journey of life.