November 2006

by Daniel Brooks with Guillermo Verdecchia
November 7 – 26, 2006 Buddies in Bad Times TheatreToronto
Do Insomniacs Dream?
by David Fujino

What's a man to do with his life?

Some men stay awake.

Meet John F., a would-be writer who scribbles away in his journal, regularly takes baths at 5 am, and rants away about the state of today's world with its terrorism, greedy corporations, and disturbing politics.

John F. is an insomniac.

He's lost in a sinking marriage to Gwen (Fiona Highet) and getting used to the birth of their new child, whereas his overbearing businessman brother, William (Randy Hughson), is married to the glacial Kate (Colombe Demers). John F. lusts after his sister-in-law Kate.

That said, it’s the foreground design that effectively drives this hyper-real play about a sleepless and troubled man who may or may not be dreaming. We don't know.

But when the actors walk along Andrea Lundy's parallel stripes of red light, the audience knows they're looking at a picture of people living parallel and separate lives.

And Julie Fox's set — a long skewed hallway, with the actors at the far end — totally controls our seeing and makes us experience the acting and the character stories in an emotionally distanced way.

Daniel Brooks & Fiona Highet

Meanwhile, Richard Feren's music — a music of sonic shocks and sombre moods — worked in perfect 'sync' with Andrea Lundy's mood-defining bars and pools of light.

And the remarkably fine acting of all concerned must be applauded — Daniel Brooks' life-beleagured John F., and the caring Gwen played by Fiona Highet; Randy Hughson as the posturing William, and Colombe Demers as the remote Kate.

You could say Insomnia is the story of one man and a culture on the brink of disaster, but a closer look reveals a play about the connectedness of all the John F.'s to the Gwens, the Williams, and the Kates of this world.

We're all living our present histories, together. For better or worse. Sleepless or well rested.

Lastly, here's a memorable line from the play: "Most insomniacs sleep without knowing it".

Chris Abraham

Daniel Brooks — John F. | Fiona Highet — Gwen
Randy Hughson — William | Colombe Demers — Kate

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
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