When a Man Falls in the Forest

Institute History


The average person sleeps for 20 years over the course of a lifetime. Six of those years are spent dreaming.

Bill is a lonely janitor who rarely leaves his apartment. His isolated life consists of nothing but eavesdropping on his neighbors, staring out at the small length of street outside his window, and random, uncomfortable encounters with the other tenants.

Gary is a middle-aged businessman whose life is falling apart. Since his son recently left for college, Gary was sued for a mistake he made at work, and his wife has told him that she wants a divorce. He has been avoiding his life altogether, staying at work after everyone’s left, and sleeping at his desk late into the night.

Travis has spent the last seven years agonizing over the past. After killing a young girl in a car accident, he has avoided driving by commuting to his menial hardware store job on foot.

The intertwining lives of these three men reveal that each deals with his problems in different, self-destructive ways. Bill learns the pleasures of lucid dreaming and harnessing the ability to control his dreams. In effect, he can carry out in his dream world the things he doesn’t have the courage to do in reality, and he gradually loses interest in the real world. Gary becomes addicted to sleeping pills, allowing himself to simply escape his mounting problems through sleep. Travis, who suffers from intense nightmares concerning the car accident, finds himself withdrawing further and further from any real human interaction—his attempt at controlling the possibility that he might accidentally destroy more lives.

Everyone has their own way of escaping their troubles. But once a man completely withdraws from the world, how can he know if he ever really existed in the first place?


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