BATS Theatre, The Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

08/09/2022 - 10/09/2022


Production Details

By Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Directed by Laura Haughey

A sniper just shot a bullet through Briar’s window. Or… Briar had a nightmare and went crashing into a solid wooden door. Maybe the MRI machine can tell her which.

Briar’s always been a sleepwalker, but when a new relationship sends her sleep disorder into overdrive, it’s not just her REM cycle that suffers. Briar’s grip on reality is slipping, and her life is coming apart with it. The possibility of an assistance dog offers hope, but with injuries a nightly occurrence and her girlfriend’s patience wearing thin, Briar’s finding love might not be as unconditional as promised

“The quality of production in every respect makes it a pleasure to suspend disbelief and engage.” – HowToCatchaGrimReaper, John Smythe, Theatreview, 2015.

Based on the true story of a series of things that didn’t really happen, playwright Helen Vivienne Fletcher, winner of the Peter Harcourt Outstanding New Playwright Award 2015, draws on her lifetime of sleep misadventures in this new solo play. Falling asleep, or falling in love – which one is about to crash?

This is a Work in Development, meaning the creative team has had a short development rehearsal process and is sharing explorations and possibilities of a brand new play text, commissioned by TAHI Festival. This is a chance to see an exciting and evolving work in development, in a modest form.

BATS Theatre, the Stage, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
1 – 10 September 2022
Full price: $20
Concession: $15
Group 6+: $18
Companion Ticket: $0
The Difference: $40

Confessions of a Sleepwalking Insomniac features integrated NZSL interpretation by Nicola Clements for all three performances of the show this TAHI Festival. There will be a short briefing at 6pm every night so please leave enough time for you to arrive, collect your tickets and enter the theatre. The Stage is wheelchair accessible. For full details about accessibility at BATS click here

TAHI Festival
A celebration of solo artists, TAHI is a ten-day Festival from 8-17 September dedicated to showcasing the finest and most engaging solo performances from all around Aotearoa. With events across Pōneke in 2022, check out our website for all the details and to book.| @tahifestivalnz | #TAHI2022

TAHI Taster
Get more art for your buck with our TAHI Taster tickets! See any two TAHI Festival shows at BATS Theatre for just $30 – a saving of $10!

Writer: Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Performer: Pauline Ward
Director: Laura Haughey
NZSL Interpreter: Nicola Clements
Lighting Designer and Operator: Grace Newtown
Sound Design: Isaac Hooper
Stage Manager: Kate Anderson
Stage Directing: Angie Farrow
Producers: Beth Barclay & Sally Richards
Project Manager: Fay Van Der Meulen

By Arrangement with Playmarket NZ

Solo , Theatre ,

1 hr

Startling, insightful, instructive and entertaining

Review by Margaret Austin 10th Sep 2022

The Tahi Festival is supposed to feature solo performances, so I am surprised to see two persons on the BATS stage at the outset of this show. And eventually joined by a third. Briar (Pauline Ward) is our solo performer, the other two are NZSL interpreter Nicola Clements and Stage Manager Kate Anderson. Director Laura Haughey has cleverly integrated both into the action.

What could be worse than not being able to fall asleep at night? Or having done so, to be plagued by nightmares? Playwright Helen Vivienne Fletcher has drawn on actual experiences from her lifetime of sleep misadventures to script a startling and sympathetic portrayal of such a life.

Briar’s sleeping troubles are exacerbated by the advent of a girlfriend, Alma, whose presence in Briar’s life is first greeted with anticipation and delight. Alas, though, Alma is intent on ‘helping’ her hapless new friend, and Briar’s attempts to explain her sleep disorder and to minimise its effects don’t help the relationship. Try yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis Alma urges.

One of the chief delights of this exploration of relationship is that our heroine discovers that she can manage to be happy – even happier – without the ultimately cloying effect of a romantic other.

The medical profession can’t help either – a wry portrayal of their myriad suggestions and prescriptions is especially salutary. A pill backfires with devastating effect. The black hole of sleep deprivation endures.

But help is at hand in canine form to save our heroine from being driven barking mad. A dog! – we are left to conjure up its precise appearance and nature – arrives on the scene. Trained evidently to deal with the Briars of this world, human and animal form a useful bond.

If confessions can constitute such an insightful, instructive and entertaining piece of theatre, let’s have more of them.

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