After a while, she discovered that getting typecast as blonde girlfriend flan was a “very unsatisfactory way” to practice her art – a feeling undoubtedly familiar to any creative person who feels trapped, unable to bridge the gap between what they want to make and what the market demands. “I just remember being like, ‘I’m acting from the part that least resonates with myself,'” she says.
Gillingham credits two people with setting her on her current path. The first is Sandra Seacat, a famous acting teacher with roots in the method – which encourages performers to bring their personal experiences when building a character – and who introduced dream work to the industry in the 1970s and 80s. “I call it Boundaries. She was really a pioneer in this business,” says Gillingham. The other is a Ganji analyst named Marion Woodman. Then she had a baby, the kind of subtle life change that encourages a change of gears. She decided to start teaching acting in her thirties and grew Her practice steadily from there.Today, at 58, Gillingham refers to her acting career as “going to Cincinnati on my way to Hawaii.”
Her clients span across creative fields, primarily actors, directors, and writers, although she’s seen a scientist or two. (Not as far-fetched as it seems: according to some stories, the theory of relativity and the idea of the periodic table of Albert Einstein and Dmitri Mendeleev, respectively, came into their dreams.)
Sometimes, something magical happens when you work with several people working in the same production: their dreams begin to align with each other, as if their minds mingle in their sleep. “You hear recurring images or recurring themes in dreams,” she says. “You begin to hear the unique DNA of the piece itself.” Gillingham credits psychiatrist Carl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious – the idea that the deepest unconscious mind is universally shared and inherited, which is why the same archetypes appear in myths across cultures.
Sandra Oh has worked with Gillingham for over 15 years, and she likens working dreams to meditation. “It really is a deep, deep practice, and the more I do that, the more the practice becomes. It becomes less goal-oriented,” she explained. “It was a profound and deepening change in my understanding of my work and art.”
Heidi Shek, creator and star What does the constitution mean to me?, Kim described Lee as possessing a kind of “genius”, as well as an unexpected rigor. “When you first meet her, it’s like she’s kind of extroverted, warm, and loving, who turns out to have a lot of intelligence behind it all,” she said. “It’s not judgmental at all, but if you go off track or try to avoid things or cut off communication, she sees her and pushes you. So I would say there is a ferocity there.”
Gillingham herself rejects any stereotypical notions of dream-working as a new, revitalized field of the New Age. Instead, it sees dreams as grounded primarily in the harsh reality of reality. “The dream will kick your ass like nothing else,” she says. “A dream will wake you up. That is why they are here.”
Humans have always been on Earth, our dream. As long as we dream about it, we assign meaning to our dreams.