about michael caine the man, not michael caine the actor

Usually Zembla is not home to long descriptions of dreams, but last night's was especially vivid, timely, and wacky, so here goes:

I was at my uncle and aunt's house in Atherton, though they weren't home. Mike Barnett and his girlfriend Jessica were there, as was Academy Award-winning actor Michael Caine. Michael Caine had an advanced case of SARS, and thus was confined to the study, where he tottered about in bedclothes and a surgical mask. In the dream, I was struck by how calm Michael Caine was, how bravely he faced his own mortality. He and I spoke a lot, primarily about the time when he had played Scrooge in our ill-fated Diablo Light Opera Company Stars 2000 production of "A Christmas Carol." I had worked stage crew for the show, but what impressed Michael Caine the most was how I had saved the technical rehearsal with some quick thinking and calm action.

I felt bad hearing Michael Caine lavish praise upon me, both because he was so sick and so brave, but also because I couldn't remember the show or the incidents he kept complimenting me about. Mike and Jessica confirmed that actor Michael Caine had indeed played Scrooge for a Contra Costa County teen theater production, and suggested my memory was faulty. After some time, I was convinced, both of Michael Caine's performance and in my own vaguely-explained role in saving the production.

Watching Michael Caine suffering from SARS began to make me very sad, and I think I may have even wept in my sleep. I wasn't weeping for the imminent loss of such a fine actor, which Michael Caine probably is, although I haven't seen any of his films since "Noises Off." No, I had always been impressed by Michael Caine the actor, but, as I told Michael Caine himself, seeing him battling SARS in my aunt and uncle's study had made me even more impressed with Michael Caine the man. I think we would have hugged, except for the whole SARS quarantine thing.

When I woke up, I felt terribly sad. We had lost a fine man, as well as any and all hope for "Blame It On Rio II." It wasn't until I was in the car driving to work that I began to question whether Michael Caine had really chosen to work with Diane Kamrin and the rest of the DLOC crew in a role he'd already pioneered in "Muppet Christmas Carol". ("Slightly less respectable than Stars 2000," Mr. Barnett remarks) Yes, it had all been a dream, and Michael Caine was still alive to make a bunch of critically-acclaimed films that I would never, ever see. The lasting goodwill I now feel toward the man is enough to make me rent "The Quiet American," except Brendan Fraser is in it and it's based on a crappy Graham Greene novel and I don't really want to have to picture Michael Caine doing it with a teenage Vietnamese girl.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on May 9, 2003 2:11 AM.

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