Five insomniacs try to make it through the night. From dusk to dawn, they struggle with a crisis in their lives which they must resolve by morning. Increasingly conscious of their shortening futures and lengthening pasts, they fill their nights with distracting activities, desperate sleep techniques, evaluations of their lives, delusions, fears, panics and utter foolishness as they prepare to face the day.
Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep has been developed over a two-year period through a series of workshop in which all the material for the play was created by the actors. The play was devised and written by the Company for ViSiBLE Theatre Ensemble and follows the successful runs of two previous ViSiBLE shows at Southwark Playhouse, Who Do We Think We Are? and Roundelay, once again offering audiences insights into the experience of later life.
ViSiBLE is a theatre company dedicated to creating performance work that throws fresh perspectives on later life and living longer. A key aspect of our identity is creating work collaboratively, drawing on the creativity and talent of Britain’s huge wealth of experienced older actors.
Recommended for ages 12+.
Please note that this show contains references to illness of a parent, death of a child, and death of a partner. It also contains strong language and adult references. Please contact box office if you would like more information.
Characters and Texts Created by
Saturday 30 April after the 3.30pm performance
Why can’t we sleep when we get older?
Eminent sleep researchers Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, University of Surrey in conversation with ViSiBLE’s Artistic Director Sonja Linden, followed by a Q&A.
5.30 – 6pm.
Monday 2nd May before the 8pm performance
Talk with Mike Alfreds, director of Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep
From 6.30pm-7.10pm in The Little.
Saturday 7 May after the 3.30pm performance
Can insomnia yield insights as well as torments?
Writer Marina Benjamin will share her wide-ranging and provocative responses to insomnia as explored in her highly acclaimed, literary memoir Insomnia.
Monday 9 May before the 8pm performance
An informal pre-show event with speaker Jean Rogers from Equity Women’s Committeee and the Equity Older Women Actors discussing the marginalisation of older women in theatre.
6.45pm – 7.15pm in the bar at Southwark Playhouse.
Saturday 14 May after the 3.30pm performance
Mike Alfreds platform talk on his legendary approach to directing.
“My work as an actor totally changed after working with Mike Alfreds.” Sir Ian McKellan.
“He’s a north star, a lodestone, a touchstone in my time the theatre.” Sir Mark Rylance.
“His work is so clear about what real theatre should be.” Patsy Rodenburg
Saturday 21 May after the 3.30pm performance
How can we sleep better?
Alison Gardiner, Psychologist and founder of online sleep programme Sleepstation, Dr Neil Stanley, Sleep researcher, author of How To Sleep Better and Dr Hugh Selsick, Psychiatrist, lead clinician Insomnia Clinic, London Hospital for Integrated Medicine.
Production Photos by Bessell Photography
Rehearsal Photos by Bessell Photography