The Insomnia Project

The Insomnia Project
Written, composed and directed by Natasha Moszenin.. La Mama Courthouse (Vic). July 29 - August 9, 2015

Devised from personal experience by Natasha Moszenin, this piece captures the tortuous afflictions that sleep deprivation causes. A powerful piece of theatre, without being heavy handed, The Insomnia Project treats the problem seriously without taking itself too seriously and genuinely allows itself to discover moments of irony and humour.

The play makes you yearn for slumber and appreciate the taken for granted ability to simply drift off to sleep. The haunting music easily evokes the ways in which insomnia slips into moments of insanity and this is accentuated by the stylised movement and gesture that trap the performers, Jai Luke, Claire Nicholls, Fiona Scarlett and Andi Snelling in their catatonic states, suspended somewhere between dreams and superficial consciousness.

The compositions are accompanied by poetic lyrics and prose, unrelenting in their depiction of spiralling delirium. The disjointed language and harsh repetitive movements, along with the haunting quality of the melodies, make the scenes extremely surreal. The naturalistic staging and costuming is belied by actions and sounds that would sit more comfortably in the expressionistic sets found in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).The segment where the actors embody and express the characteristics of tempting, but somewhat dangerous, sleeping pills was particularly striking. The sincerity in this performance fully encourages the audience to empathise with the suffering of an insomniac.

Patricia Di Risio

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