Insomnia in a Daydream

ARTWORKS, 2 Korora Rd, Oneroa, Waiheke Island

16/02/2013 - 16/02/2013

The Pumphouse / Lake Pupuke, Auckland

07/03/2013 - 09/03/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details

What keeps you real?

‘Insomnia in a Daydream’ is a new theatrical production created by Juliet Shelley, gus Simonovic and Siri Embla (Lovers Walk – a Poetic Journey in Eight Scenes). On a backdrop of inspirational visuals Peter Brierley-Millman and soundscape composed by Lawrence Brock (AKA Dubtext), gus and Siri are bringing to life a stage-dream of kinetic and oral poetry. A sumptuous feast for all your senses, mind and heart.

The statistics show that 57% of people are affected by sleep difficulties. With more than a quarter of the population suffering from a chronic sleep problem, insomnia is highlighted as a major public health issue. On a large scale, the world we live in is faced with increasing uncertainty and threats which further impact on our already volatile and vulnerable existence. As a result, we sleep less, we dream less. We don`t get enough rest – but, we keep going. Insomnia takes its toll, in many forms. Fueled by coffee, sugar, energy drinks, alcohol or any other modern drug of our choice, our society is becoming more exhausted and more and more delusional.

What happens when Insomnia spreads its fingers into our day-life? When, not only eating our dreams away, it impacts on our imagination and enters our last refuge – our daydreams.The reality, as we know it, is reduced to an iridescent bubble made of our illusions, fears and half-wishes. In an attempt to protect ourselves from this condition we are sent into a different state.

‘Insomnia in a Daydream’ is a multimedia theatre performance exploring the layers of that new reality. What happens when you cannot sleep? What happens when you cannot daydream. Is it a gift, or a curse? ‘Insomnia’ takes you for a dive into the subconscious mind – personal, interpersonal and universal.

Pick Fresh Sleep-Daises From your Imagination

“Insomnia in a Daydream” – This Summer at Auckland Fringe Festival 

What keeps you real?  Insomnia in a Daydream.  

video teaser :

What: Printable Reality presents : “Insomnia in a Daydream”

Where: ArtWorks Theatre, Waiheke, 16th February, 8pm

                       PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna, 7-8-9th March 6.30pm

Book tickets at or through the venues. $15/$10

more info – contact: or

phone Siri: 0225477385      or         Gus 0212323739        



1 hr

Poetry for the senses

Review by Charlotte Everett 17th Feb 2013

Insomnia in a Daydream explores a common and serious problem for a lot of people: the inability to sleep. It’s a bold piece which pushes the boundaries between sleep and awakeness; reality and illusion. Siri Embla and Gus Simonovic take us on a surreal journey of the senses, asking us to question what makes us real, and indeed what is really real.

Insomnia is highly-contemporary multimedia work, combining movement, voice, electronic sound, music, and video projections by Peter Brierley-Millman. But with our multiple senses being assaulted all at once by a variety of mediums, it is perhaps a little too busy.

I might suggest that this is intentional: Embla and Simonovic want to highlight the consequences of insomnia; to enhance our feeling of vulnerability and confusion. At times however, the visuals are distracting; I find my eyes focussing increasingly on what the actors are doing in the projected video, rather than what the live actors – who themselves are absolutely intriguing to watch – are actually doing on stage.

The music is loud – again, I would say this is also intentional, as above – but it does dominate, and more variable volume would serve the actors better, who at times are difficult to hear over the music. 

It’s wonderful to see a pregnant woman on stage, and whether intended or not, the presence of a heavily pregnant performer further serves the theme of insomnia, with no doubt many mothers in the audience recalling suffering from sleep problems whilst pregnant themselves.

Although Insomnia is only 40 minutes long, several costume changes are made throughout, and they serve the style of the piece and the different vignettes very well. The only costume decision that concerns me is one of Embla’s; she looks fantastic in the red dress, but the hem is far too long, and a pregnant woman tottering around on very high heels that keep catching the hem is incredibly distracting. I find myself watching her feet rather than the action on stage, concerned that at any moment she will trip. My fears are justified at one point when the hem gets caught under her high heels and she almost falls backward, with Simonovic near-lunging forward to try to catch her, before she quickly finds her feet again. The red dress is a powerful costume, and this problem can easily be overcome simply by shortening the hem. 

Waiheke Island’s Artworks Theatre is an unusual space. It used to be a timber yard and the atypical design of the theatre itself could make it a challenging space for actors to work. But Embla and Simonovic make great use of the space and exploit it in the best way possible. They also maximise the use of a few key props, my personal favourite being a collection of paper bags, which are used in multiple ways including (but not limited to) being hung as washing on a clothesline, worn as masks as a variety of everyday characters suffering from insomnia, and lined up on their sides downstage at the end of the show to spell out “GOODNIGHT”. 

Insomnia in a Daydream is poetry for the senses and very watchable. It feels a lot longer than 40 minutes, but 40 minutes is the right length. Anything longer than that and the piece risks feeling more like a nightmare than a daydream. 


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